by Miss Winona Kayla Boettcher
Few people know that the crown worn by Miss America isn’t just a pretty bauble or a status symbol for the reigning title holder. It’s steeped in the symbolism and meaning that has inundated this wonderful organization since its inception in 1921.
For instance, the crowns worn by all title holders have four points which represent service, style, scholarship, and success. This is the heart of the Miss America organization and these are the qualities that each titleholder strives to embody each day, whether wearing a crown or not.
This month I’d like to focus on service and share what that means to me as a title holder. The main reason that I entered the Miss Winona competition was to be able to give back to a community that gives so much. This beautiful community of Winona is unlike any other that I’ve found. It’s a community with an open heart and it’s filled with people who are always willing to reach out a helping hand. No matter where you go, you will always find a smiling, inviting face.
When deciding to become a part of the Miss America Scholarship Organization an important decision is choosing your social impact initiative. This is where you will focus your service and it should be based on a subject or area that you’re passionate about. To me service isn’t always about helping when there is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately but looking at what is happening around myself and my community and acknowledging what will happen if the current status quo continues.
My social impact initiative is called H2Woah: It’s all About Water. With it I will educate others on the importance of conserving our water resources as well as understanding the role that water plays throughout our everyday lives. Some of the information I plan to share is as simple as how the length of your shower impacts our environment, and some is as complex as actually mapping out where water goes once it goes down the drain. By understanding the ins and outs of water as a community, we will be better able to connect to it and see why conserving it now is relevant in order to have a prosperous future. We are blessed to see water all around us here in Winona and the Midwest, but that leads to so many of us taking it for granted. Even in America the lack of fresh water is a crisis if you look toward the West Coast. It’s only through education and awareness that we will be able to come together and protect the gift we’ve been given here in Winona and our neighboring communities.