Leanne Kirkpatrick enjoyed the newspaper publicity and radio show interviews that followed her win at the 2011 Lincoln County Junior Miss Scholarship Pageant.
But the most impactful result of her crowning was the discovery of self-confidence.
“I had always cared about what people thought about me and was afraid to show who I was,” she wrote.
“But in Junior Miss, I was 100 percent me, and people didn’t point and laugh in my face.”
Instead, they clapped.
Kirkpatrick’s 4.385 grade-point average, accompanied by awards from honors English, physics, biology, chemistry and AP calculus classes, impressed Junior Miss judges, who assess participants in categories including fitness, interview, talent and academics.
But she is even more well-rounded than the competition may show. Her list of activities features varsity soccer, Student Council, 4-H Club and choir.
Kirkpatrick, daughter of Charlotte and Tommy Kirkpatrick, will bring her talents to Centre College this fall, where she will take time to decide on a specific major.
“I have no set career plans, but I have big dreams,” Kirkpatrick wrote. “I would love to either be on the radio, with my own show, or be a motivational speaker, inspiring people on living life with a positive attitude.”