Competitive baton twirler and volleyball player is driven, loyal, and aspires to become a pediatrician.
Photo: Nicole Hamel
- Freshman at Leesburg High School.
- Daughter of Derek and Maile DeLand of Lady Lake.
- Competitive baton twirler, a feature twirler, and volleyball player at LHS.
- Twirling awards: Drum Majorette Association (DMA) Nation Junior Halftime, DMA Mini National Junior Halftime, DMA Mini National Pom Girl, Miss Majorette of Florida, Florida’s Most Beautiful Majorette, Florida’s Junior Halftime, Miss Southern States, Miss Southern States Junior Halftime.
- Three-time recipient of the Presidential Gold Service Medal for community service hours.
- Recently qualified to become a DMA Elite contestant, the highest possible level to compete in DMA.
- Has won Miss Leesburg titles of Tiny Miss, Little Miss and Junior Miss Leesburg.
Biggest influence in my life: My baton coach, Mrs. Cheri Howard. I started twirling for her when I was 3 years old. She has always encouraged me to be the best at anything I do, whether it’s baton, volleyball, or school. She came to my 5th grade play, and it was so nice having her there, because it was in the middle of the day, and it meant so much to me that she took time out of her busy schedule to come watch me. My dad couldn’t be there that day, and I do not have grandparents, so Mrs. Cheri kind of fills that role. She always does my hair and makeup for whatever event I am competing in, and I know that she will always be there for me, no matter what. I couldn’t ask for a better coach.
Two words to describes me: Driven and loyal. When I set a goal for myself, I work as hard as I can to achieve that goal, and when I commit to something, I see it through to the end. And if a friend tells me a secret, I do not tell anyone. I do not talk bad about people behind their back, and I am always true to my friends.
What I enjoy most about twirling and volleyball: The memories and the friends I have made. I met two of my best friends, Meagann Goodridge and Sadie Perry, through baton. We spend a lot of time together at competitions throughout the year, so we’ve grown very close. I usually compete against my friends and teammates, but no matter what, we always support each other and encourage each other. I know that if I win against my friends, they will genuinely be happy for me, and if they win against me, I am happy for them. We motivate each other and I am so thankful for all my teammates. When it comes to volleyball, I love the rush I get when a ball is flying towards me. It’s completely different than baton twirling, but in a good way. I started playing volleyball in middle school and joined a club last season. This year, I tried out for the volleyball team at Leesburg High School, and I was the only freshman to be selected for the varsity team.
How I stay motivated in school: I have good friends and good teachers. A teacher can make or break a class just depending on how they interact with their students. I have been very lucky through the years to have some of the best teachers there are.
Favorite subject: Biology. I like learning about different types of organisms, whether they are human or animal.
Some of my goals: To win Majorette Princess of America, which is the highest Elite title I can win for my age group, and in a few years, win Majorette Queen of America, which is the highest Elite title in DMA. Another goal is to graduate high school with an associate degree so that I will have two years of college out of the way. I would also like to become a better volleyball player, and hopefully play volleyball in college on a full scholarship.
Favorite food: A nice, juicy, medium-rare steak. It’s even better when it has A1 on top, and a lobster tail and salad on the side. I also love anything from Chick-fil-A.
My hero as a younger child: My former teammate and friend, Kamryn Reynolds. Even though she is quite a bit older than me, she has always been there for me. Every goal she has set for herself she has achieved. She is nice to everyone she meets, and always makes each person feel that they matter. She has always worked very hard to be successful, and always does it with a smile on her face. Even though I am a Gator fan, she has tried to convert me to be a Seminole fan. She is a feature twirler at FSU and has always been such a positive role model for me.
Advice to younger students: Believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. If someone does tell you that you cannot do something, prove them wrong! Be true to yourself, and always be confident in who you are and how you look. God made you perfect, and I wish more kids would realize this.
In my free time: When I am not at baton or volleyball or cheering my brother on at his baseball games, I love spending as much time with my family and friends as I can. I am very close to my cousins, so when we get together, we always have a blast. We took a big family vacation last summer, and it was the best vacation I have ever had. My late grandma used to always say, “Family is everything…” And she was right!
What I would do with $5 million: I would put some in a bank account to save for college and I would spend some on stuff I currently need or want. I would also donate some to charity, and I would buy my dad a boat because he has always wanted one. I would buy my mom a beach house and I would get my baby brother a cell phone. Anything left over, I would invest and try to earn money off the investment.
What I wish more people took time to learn about: The Ronald McDonald house and just how much they do for families. I have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house numerous times, and it just amazes me the strength and courage these families have. Because of my pageant director, Mrs. Linda Watts, I had the opportunity to serve lunch to the families and even met some of the kids who were sick and staying at the RMH, and it just makes you appreciate your health and your family’s health a little bit more.
My life in 10 years: I see myself having just graduated college and working as a pediatrician in Atlanta. I also see myself with a lot of animals. Maybe close to being married and starting a family, but I want to be sure I have a stable foundation for myself before I make those commitments.
Words I live by: “The sky can’t be the limit when there’s footprints on the moon.” I love this quote because it reminds me that no goal is too big or too impossible to achieve.