I have packed suitcases, dress bags, and of course a crown and sash sitting on the floor behind my desk as I write, begging to be unpacked, but I want to stop amidst the hubbub of the last 24 hours to share with you my experience. I have competed for Miss Vermont three times. Every expereince has taught me something about myself and helped me grow. However, out of the three years I have been to Miss Vermont pageant weekend, this was my favorite. I don't say that because I won, quite to the contrary. Last night standing backstage before the awards were announced I reflected on what an incredible group of women I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with. I knew any one of us would do this state a great honor by spending the year as Miss Vermont 2008. That is why this weekend was so special!
When my name was called as the winner, I was in shock. I always thought I would cry if it ever happened but instead of tears the most emotion I could express was a giant smile and pump of my fists. From that moment on this is a brief overview of the last 24 hours. -Rachel Ann Cole puts the Miss Vermont 2008 crown on my head...official pictures taken...I briefly meet and thank the judges...pictures and hugs with friends and family...pack up (while reading 14 text messages and 9 voicemails!...guess good news really does travel fast!)...drive from Barre to the Sheraton...stay up talking with mom and dad...few hours of sleep...get up this morning for my first television interview with WCAX...brunch meeting with the MVO board...mom and dad escort me to St.Albans for my first official appearance (The Vermont Maple Festival)....and now you are up to speed. I am back at Saint Michael's campus to unpack.
At the Maple Festival today it hit me just how great this year is going to be. I met sweet little girls whose mouths gaped at my crown. I also met a gracious family from Fairfield who were generous enough to allow me to ride in their horse drawn carriage when my convertible did not show up...THANK YOU JEWETT FAMILY! And to be honest I was more proud to be riding with a true Vermont family being pulled behind their beautiful horses than in a car anyway.
The list of people I have to thank is enormous and I hope you all know you are not off the hook yet because I will be relying on you all heavily this year as I travel the state looking for sponsors, promoting my platform, and networking for the Miss Vermont Organization. I dedicate my crowning to those who were there in body and spirit last night. I love you all. Mom and Dad...you are my rock. Grammy Fay & Grammy Ruth...my strengths are a combination of the example you have set...I love you. JAAKKS (Kevin as the double K)...you are my NEK loves...my life! Harry and Claire...what a lucky lady I am to have a second family like you...the cookie dough is now consumed and what a treat it was! Sonia, Kay, Jackie, Irene...my dancing ladies to whom I would not be Miss Vermont without your grace and the confidence you instilled in me. Angie and Allison...my smc mentors...your support is above and beyond...your generousity teaches me true beauty! Erica, Shelley, Rene, Mrs. Percy, Lauren, Lana, Sue Mills...I am so honored you shared that night with me! Fellow contestants...you each amazed me and I hope you know how much your graciousness last night meant to me. And to those who were unable to attend last night but always love and support me...my gorgeous sister Amanda and my South Carolina Family...the Wheeler Family...the smc gals (thanks to Jill o, Andz, Tracy, Kara, & Aimee for driving to my appearance today!)...Frannie...my Australia crew...and the many others who have helped shaped me...I APPRECIATE ALL YOU DO.
I hope you stay tuned as I update this blog throughout my year. I am so excited to get going. MARK THE DATE...I will be singing the National Anthem and running in the Vermont City Marathon on May 25th in Burlington! As well, I look forward to be a guest at the Miss New Hampshire 2008 crowning this coming weekend!
Miss Vermont 2008! (YAY!)