Because of the MHSA organization, I can share my story. Here is mine: I was bullied because of my height because I was “Too Tall” and because I was a “Giraffe.” I was young and didn’t know how to tell the bully to stop. Before Miss High School America came into my life I was scared the bully would hurt me. I now help people of all ages overcome Bullying. I started to feel scared when I was around my bully, so my parents put me in jiu-jitsu. In jiu-jitsu, I now get to teach younger kids about how to defend yourself against a bully, as well as share my story! I have been doing jiu-jitsu for almost 5 years now and I love every second of it! I hope you enjoyed reading my story!
BRAVE has empowered me and reminded me that being unique is beautiful. In pageantry, I have found a community of amazing women who constantly uplift me and remind me I am capable of anything.
I had experienced bullying as many others have but I wasn’t always sure how to fight it or how to make a change. I was honored to be crowned Miss Wisconsin High School America 2021, and that really gave me a way to get out and make a difference. I started reading to and taking to classrooms of kids and reminding them that being different is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m even starting my series interview girls in and out of the Miss High School America System. Rude comments can be so damaging, but they should also be your motivation to be respectful towards everyone and fight that bullying with kindness.
I truly believe the root of bullying is insecurity. That is why it’s my goal to empower as many people as possible. When you feel confident in yourself, you only want to lift others up. The best way to fight bullying is help others find their own self worth and their own confidence. Building others up is how we truly build respect and values for everyone.
The acronym B.R.A.V.E stands for Building Respect and Values for Everyone. This acronym means to me more than just a platform, but it is truly a lifestyle. This platform gives the opportunity for myself as well as other titleholders to shine a light on the importance of having respect and values for not only yourself, but the individuals around you as well. Through this platform, I’m able to use my past experiences to educate others on how to understand that what makes you different makes you beautiful.
During my reign as Miss New Jersey Collegiate America, I will be taking B.R.A.V.E internationally to impoverished communities where as some do lack the education of respectful social skills. Through my Gotta Have Faith Foundation that supports orphanages and schools in Haiti I will be implementing B.R.A.V.E presentations virtually and sending B.R.A.V.E care packages to teach them that where they come from doesn’t define them! It’s so important that these students understand that despite their situation they can make the best of any circumstance by having a positive attitude and respecting one another. I’m so grateful to the Miss High School America Organization for creating this incredible platform to encourage people across the nation to create respectable environments for everyone. Always remember that no matter what you look like or where we come from, we were all created for our own special purposes. Embrace who you are and embrace those around you.
This mission is why I started “Larissa’s Virtual Reading Corner” for preschool and young school-aged children, where the themes in the books we read are “be kind”, ”be brave”, and “be you”. I believe it is empowering for children to learn this and live this. This message is what the B.R.A.V.E. platform is about, lifting each other up, appreciating each other’s differences, and learning from one another. I am so honored to represent Miss Texas High School America and be associated with the Miss High School America Organization whose national platform is B.R.A.V.E. Building Respect and Values for Everyone.
I was fortunate enough to win the title of Miss Oregon Jr High and to start promoting the B.R.A.V.E platform. Honestly without that title I would still be in that situation and wouldn't be as confident in pageantry as I am today. They always made me feel as though I needed to hide that part of my life, but through promoting the B.R.A.V.E platform I not only taught building respect and values for everyone to kids and students but I taught it to myself. With the brave platform I was able to be more open about my time in pageantry and open up about what I do rather than hiding it. I learned to respect myself and value the things I am most proud of in life, as well as learning that I need to be surrounding myself with people who make me feel included and supported rather than feeling like less than them.
In the last two years of promoting the B.R.A.V.E platform I have been able to combine my own platform #itskooltobekindwithkaydence which reminds students and people to always be kind no matter the situation with the B.R.A.V.E platform. When I go into classrooms or do zoom presentations I always talk about one thing, being an upstander not a bystander. This means be the person who says something when someone is being bullied, be the person who stops the aggressor and helps the victim, not the person who sits back and watches the bullying happen. Through the B.R.A.V.E platform I have had the opportunity to hold 3 B.R.A.V.E assemblies at my local elementary school, talk with principals and teachers of my locals schools about B.R.A.V.E, talk to many classrooms in my community about B.R.A.V.E and what it stands for, but one thing I got to help with that I will never forget is when a group of fourth graders came to me with the idea of starting a B.R.A.V.E club at their school. I got the opportunity to work with them and help them spread the B.R.A.V.E message around their school through their club. That moment I knew I HAD made a difference and the B.R.A.V.E message was being heard in my community. This year I was given the opportunity to go back to nationals as MIss Wyoming High, that meant another year of promoting B.R.A.V.E and having the opportunity to spread the message of B.R.A.V.E and #itskooltobekindwithkaydence even more throughout my community.
Welcome to the BRAVE Blog, I'm Carly, Miss Houston Collegiate America and I am working together with other titleholders in the MHSA organization to share the message of BRAVE and why it is so important!