Judging the Miss Teen and Queen Canal Festival Pageant

Today I had the exciting opportunity to judge 22 young ladies in the interview portion of the Miss Canal Festival Pageant - Teen & Queen Category.
I heard everything from these young ladies!!
One 16 year old explained herself as "weird. " Although I was reluctant to ask her to give an example of "weird" --- I DID! She laughed and explained that she burps everywhere and anywhere, is loud and obnoxious! She left us judges laughing and we def. enjoyed our time with her!
Then I had another gal - 16, explain that the reason she wants to become an occupational therapist is due to the fact that she was born with such bad pigeon toe that her brother actually had to carry her around, including at a trip to Disney World. Her family eventually found the right therapists who were actually able to gift her the ability to walk. The passion that this young girl had in her heart to give back and help others was overwhelming! She brought tears to my eyes.
Two other contestants that shocked me -
-The gal who travels to 3rd world countries to deliver things that we take for granted here in America (including the grocery store plastic bags that they build their homes with) and she described this experience as life changing.
-Another gal who donates her time to the homeless shelters and actually spent the night in a cardboard box with the homeless! She explained that serving them dinner of rice & beans is like serving them Thanksgiving dinner and through it she learned a greater appreciation for life and what she has!
I mean, these kids were outstanding and they all deserve to hold this crown. Unfortunately, only one can walk away with the crown tomorrow night but I have to honestly say, each and everyone of these gals already has a crown.
When I look back at the age of 16, I was working 2 jobs and trying to figure out how to instantly become 21. I was never introduced to the idea of "volunteer work" and that is why I think it is a phenomenal idea that the schools are now requiring volunteerism as part of graduation credits. I am so proud to hear that these young ladies are living for today and experiencing life in the ways they have because they are going to grow into outstanding woman.

I look forward to tomorrow night's final portion of the pageant and can't wait to see who becomes this years teen and queen Miss Canal Festival.

Lastly, I do have to say, this was a difficult task. My brain injury has been giving me such an incredibly difficult time lately and everyday I have to just fight against it. Today was an arduous task as I attempted to fight it during these interviews!!! This is when I have to realize that speech therapy is necessary yet again. How frustrating BUT considering I beat death, I will take these set backs every year to still be alive like I am.