A native of Racine and current Miss Wisconsin, Jennifer Schmidt was one of 50 contestants on stage in the Miss America 100th Anniversary Edition contest. The contest took place on Thursday, December 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, and aired on NBC Universal’s streaming platform, Peacock.
Ahead of Thursday night’s final, Schmidt and the other 49 contestants took part in preliminary rounds that included a private interview, on-stage questions, a social impact pitch, and an on-stage talent show. Typically, there are 51 contestants, one for each of the 50 states as well as Washington DC. Miss Maine, Mariah Larocque, was forced to withdraw from the competition after testing positive for COVID-19.
Bring Racine’s expertise to a national stage
For the talent portion of the competition, Schmidt performed a jazz dance routine on âHit Me with a Hot Noteâ by Tammi Tappan. An extra touch of the Racine region was incorporated as soon as Schmidt’s routine was choreographed by Danelle Davies, owner of the Dance Arts Center in Mt. Pleasant. Former Miss Racine Haley Schonter also worked with Schmidt for over two years to perfect choreography, performance and overall dance technique.
âIt’s really cool to bring that talent to the Miss America stage, to represent Racine and to have Racine’s support on that stage,â Schmidt explained ahead of Thursday’s final.
Competitors received a score for each part of the preliminary rounds. The top 10 got the chance to enter a talent show on stage and compete for the chance to be crowned 100e Miss America in front of a worldwide audience.
âJust getting on the Miss America stage is such an accomplishment and I’m not saying that just for myself, I’m saying it for all the young women who have made it this far,â said Schmidt who finished outside. of the top 10.
She received the third science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholarship of $ 2,000, in addition to the $ 3,000 scholarship she received for participating in Miss America. Winning the Miss Wisconsin scholarship competition earlier this year earned her a scholarship of $ 11,000.
Miss America Origins
What began as the Inter-City Beauty Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ in 1921 has really evolved over the past century both socially and as a year-round opportunity for women to win scholarships, improve their professional skills and make a difference in their two communities. and around the world through the Miss America Organization.
In 1941, the contest was renamed the Miss America Pageant and the first scholarship of $ 5,000 was awarded to Bess Myerson of New York.
In 1947, an Intelligence and Personality category was added.
The organization’s all-female leadership team eliminated the swimwear competition in 2018 and replaced it with an opportunity for candidates to talk about their goals and social impact initiatives.
Reflection on competition
âThis is such a humbling opportunity. I look around and realize that I am surrounded by future lawyers, doctors, teachers and politicians, âexplained Schmidt, who graduated in 2014 from The Prairie School and first generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation / psychology of University of Wisconsin-Madison.
âAll of these women have career aspirations just like me, and many of them have already started and succeeded in their careers.
âIt’s really just an amazing group of young women and it’s an honor to be by their side and to know that it doesn’t matter who ends up winning the title, the 100e Miss America’s Birthday is in good hands.
Miss Alaska Emma Broyles received the crown this year. Upon winning the title of Miss America 2022, 20-year-old Broyles received a scholarship of $ 100,000 to spend on earning a degree or paying off student debt. She also received the full-time position of Miss America with a six-figure salary.
Alaska State’s first Miss America, Broyles defeated first runner-up Lauren Bradford (Alabama) and runner-up Elizabeth Pierre (Massachusetts), as well as the other seven semi-finalists, including Andolyn Medina (District of Columbia), Leah Roddenberry (Florida), Isabelle Hanson (Illinois), Sydney Park (New York), Abigail Hayes (Oregon), Mallory Fuller (Texas) and Sasha Sloan (Utah), who participated in the talent portion of the competition.
Bradford, Park, Pierre, Hayes and Broyles moved on to the interview portion, where they each had the opportunity to focus on their individual social impact initiatives.
As Miss America 2022, Broyles plans to focus on her social impact initiative as a Special Olympics advocate over the next year or so.
Miss Wisconsin Social Initiative Program
As the reigning Miss Wisconsin, Schmidt plans to continue focusing on the social initiative program she calls âDiabetes, YOU Are In Controlâ. She began developing the program over 10 years ago as a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
She later became a liaison for the ADA and the State of Wisconsin as National Ambassador, Donor Relations Manager for ADA in Wisconsin and Director of Donor Relations for Operation Not Alone.
âDue to COVID-19 and the lack of funding, the American Diabetes Association was forced to close its Wisconsin office, but this has returned a large chunk of funding resources and programs to the diabetes community of Wisconsin via my social network. initiative program, âsaid Schmidt, who has watched her grandmother struggle with type 2 diabetes throughout her life.
âSo the goal is really to fill that void that was lost when the American Diabetes Association closed its offices, and to help people understand their risk as well as test their risk.
âOne in two Americans has diabetes or prediabetes and I think about 85% of them don’t even know they have it. My goal is therefore to provide people with the information and resources that allow them to make their health a priority. . “
The moment of the coronation
Forever Miss Americas Nina Davuluri and Ericka Dunlap co-hosted the final night of the Miss America Pageant, which featured Forever Miss America panelists Heather French Henry, Katie Stam Irk and Debbye Turner Bell.
Miss Alaska Emma Broyles has been crowned Miss America 2022 by Camille Schrier. After last year’s competition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Schrier became the first woman to reign as Miss America for two years. A scientist from Virginia, Schrier was also the first female competitor to perform a science demonstration on stage during the talent portion of the 2020 Miss America pageant.
âI know whoever wins the Miss America job, he’s in good hands,â Schmidt said before the final night of competition. âIt’s really cool to look around and recognize how accomplished and successful these women are, but also to remind myself that I’m part of this group as well. If it’s not me, I’m back to being Miss Wisconsin full-time, so it’s a win-win situation anyway.
And that attitude is only part of what makes Jennifer Schmidt a winner, even on a night someone else took the crown.