PHOTO: Matthew Gaulin
Age: 12 • Seventh-grade student at Umatilla Middle School
In March, I was crowned Miss Pre-Teen Florida in Daytona Beach. I was the only contestant from Lake County. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I remember hearing my dad scream, “Oh my gosh, that’s my daughter on stage!”
I also competed in Miss Pre-Teen United States, which was held in July inside the Synetic Theater in Washington, D.C. It was an amazing experience because I met girls my age from all over the country and visited the White House and Arlington National Cemetery. We even participated in the National Independence Day Parade.
The national competition involved four components: a patriotic runway show, on-stage question, model and gown. I wore a pink gown with rhinestones. Although I did not win the overall competition, I did win the Most Photogenic award, which is voted by the public.
As a pageant winner, I’ve been fortunate to do some volunteer work, such as packaging food for Deliver the Difference, reading to children at the Boys and Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties and providing toiletries and personal items to a women’s shelter.
In addition to competing in pageants, I have been a cheerleader for seven years. I belong to a competitive cheerleading program in Eustis called Champion Cheer All-Stars. We travel to various competitions and also attend cheerleading camps and learn from professionals.
My favorite subject is keyboarding. My keyboarding teacher is hilarious and refers to me as a Southern Belle.
After I graduate high school, I want to attend the University of Florida and be a Gator cheerleader.
I plan on majoring in nursing and becoming a nurse practitioner. When my grandmother had cancer, I saw how much the nurses were able to comfort her and help her feel at peace. My grandmother had a wonderful relationship with her nurses.
One of my favorite shows is “Duck Dynasty.” I love Si Robertson. He’s so funny and always so real.
The advice I’d give to younger children is to always be yourself. If you have two choices, always be sure to make the right one. Always follow your dreams.
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Shining star: Lilly has won numerous pageants, including Miss Lake County, Miss Pre-Teen Florida, Winter Wonderland, Snow Queen, and Denim and Diamonds.
Ace in the hole: Lilly is a straight-A student and is taking an advanced math class. [/notification]