Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Shayla's first pageant - State bound now!

It's been quite a while since I posted.  Thankfully, we've heard back from all of our Philly and NYC friends and they are doing ok.  Praise be to God!
As you can probably tell from this awesome photo, we've been busy and this proud mommy has grand news to share!  Shayla entered her very first Miss America's Outstanding Teen local pageant and much to my shock and surprise, she won!  I knew she'd do well, but I know it typically takes about three pageants to "get your game on" and thrive, but she was absoutely amazing! 
Shayla asked if she could enter about 18 months ago.  Since my Miss America local winnings fully funded my Master's degree and I grew and gained in countless ways, we said, "Of course!"  She worked with me, and a few pageant coaches, quite a bit over the past year and we had so much fun spending precious time together watching her grow.
Shayla will now compete for the state title in Mansfield, during Miss Ohio week, in June.  We are so proud of her.  She definitely learned hard work = success!  (And she earned a cash scholarship too!)  (Miss America started their "sister program" about 9 years ago.  It is for girls ages 13-17.)

This is how Shayla started her dance, looking up to Christi as her voice over stated some statistics of childhood cancer and then she said, "Tonight I dance in memory of my friend and sister - Christi Thomas, and for all victims of childhood cancer." Sad, yet a beautiful tribute.
At the end of Shayla's talent routine, her voice comes back on and she says, "Continue to be my guardian angel, Christi, until we dance togther again." OK, she had practiced this routine countless times over many months, but the tears were still rolling down my face (as I was clapping and screaming like a "crazy pageant mom"). LOL!
Shayla danced a contemporary ballet en pointe to Scarlett Cherry's "Angel".  I worked with the recording studio on campus and a guy in North Carolina to make this special creation for the pageant.  It was moving, yet upbeat and told a story.  In the Miss America pageant system, each contestant adopts a platform - a cause they are passionate about and that they will volunteer more for if selected as the titleholder.  Shayla's is "Taking a 'Stand' against Childhood Cancer".  We are so proud of her and we know Christi is too!

In this Miss America system, talent counts for 35% of each contestant's score.  Since it's weighted so heavily, I had a special costume created and designed for Shayla and we could not have been more pleased with it.  We Skyped with the designer from New Hampshire and finally agreed on this.  I thought it was stunning.  The designer airbrushed this shade of blue in it for Christi; it was Christi's favorite color. 
Shayla at the after pageant party!  Congrats, Shayla!  You are soooooooo amazing!
Shayla with Sara Eash, Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen, an AMAZING dancer from the Cleveland area.  Sara's mom took this picture before Shayla went for her six minute private interview with the 7 judges.  In the Miss America system, interview is the other "biggie" it's also worth 35% of the score.  We knew she had to go in their with her amazing intelligence and personality and we think she did just that! 

I had to drop Shayla off at 9am and didn't get to see her until after the pageant so I was THRILLED when I received a text after interview saying it went great and she got to talk about everything she wanted to while standing at the podium.  I thought, "Oh, no!  You did not talk about Harry Potter for six straight minutes, did you?!"  No, they threw questions at her about cancer clusters, politics, changes she'd like to make to her school, current books she's reading, her platform and pressures put on her.  I texted back, "Of course they loved you!  How could they not?!" 
Before interview she texted asking if she had a bracelet to wear.  I wanted to say, "You know we got the earrings and necklace at the fair for $5.00.  Do you honestly expect a bracelet too for just five bucks?"  LOL!  Seriously, as a judge I hate it when girls bang their bracelets against the podium so I wouldn't have let her wear one anyway - too distracting.
Shayla with the beautiful Allison before the "Opening Number".

Instead of swimsuit for the teens, the Miss America rules have the contestants do a fitness/aerobics routine.  A year ago, Shayla would not have been able to do a push up.  I won't say the push up was the strongest part of her routine on stage, but she was great (and her high kick made up for that darn push up - lol).

These were the "treaties" she gave to all of the contestants to promote her platform.  They said, "Help Scare Away Childhood Cancer". She listed warning signs at the bottom and filled little bags with candy.

Evening gown!  She's got a bit of work to do with her walk, but we thought she looked stunning and she nailed her question - SPOT ON!  Her question was about what to tell teens struggling in life.  Shayla immediately responded something like they need to find their passion in life because that will motivate them and drive them and let them do great things.  She's definitely got passion!  I texted her, "I killed it!"  (I meant YOU killed it, but I was shaking so badly.  She said she read it and thought, "Was there a spider crawling through the auditorium or something?  What did mom kill?"  Oh, gotta love her!  We finally ended the night, back home from Toledo at 2:00am sitting at the kitchen table, eating vegetables.

Shayla with her pageant directors, Mr. & Mrs. W.  We look forward to getting to know them better and to cheering for Shayla with them in Mansfield this summer.  THANKS!
Shayla with Miss Ohio (Elissa McCraken) who will soon be heading to the Miss America pageant in Las Vegs!
Because of how heavily talent is weighed, (35%) Shayla started learning this dance last June and had private lessons once or twice a week for this routine in addition to the other dance classes she takes each week.  At the end of the night she said talent was her favorite area of competition.  (I really thought it would be interview, but she said that was her second favorite part!)


At 8/11/12 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must be so proud of her. Thanks for sharing. She is a beauty and Christi must be smiling from above.

Mary Kohlbacher

At 8/11/12 1:40 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Congrats Shayla!

At 8/11/12 1:59 PM, Blogger snekcip said...

Congratulations Shayla!! HOW GORGEOUS ARE YOU!!!! So very proud of you!! Truly...Like Mother...Like Daughter!!

I can't wait to see you compete on the next level!! You are one awesome young lady. A true models for ALL TEEN GIRLS!

PS So wish we could see a video of your dance. I know it was a tearful but beautiful routine.

At 9/11/12 2:00 AM, Blogger Frapper said...

Wow, has Shayla ever become a lovely young woman, inside and out! It's so beautiful and touching that she incorporated her sister into her routine; I'm sure Christi is looking down with pride at her sister.

At 9/11/12 4:54 AM, Blogger Amanda Hobbs Dierenfeldt said...

I have spent some time reading about your sweet daughter from the beginning. Thank you so much for sharing such intimate moments. The pictures of her with you and your husband talking to her in bed, even the during the wake. It was truly beautiful and I hope to do my part to help put childhood cancer on the forefront.
P.S. It is incredible to see the resilience that your family has shown as you weathered during and after storms. Amazing the accomplishments.


At 9/11/12 6:06 AM, Blogger Amy K said...

Congratulations to gorgeous Shayla! That sounds like a lot of hard work, determination, and dedication; such a wonderful accomplishment.
Much success as you advance to the next level.
I will be lifting you up in prayer.

At 9/11/12 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a beautiful, beautiful young lady!

At 9/11/12 1:13 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Wow congratulations Shayla! I bet that was some awesome performance. Well done. You've developed into quite the impressive young woman, your sister would be proud.

At 9/11/12 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shayla is growing up to be a beautiful girl, inside and out. That dance costumes is awesome she wore. I don't blame you for being one proud mama, Angela! :)

Wendy Landers
Concord, GA

At 9/11/12 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shayla has become a beautiful, competent, capable young woman. May she earn many more successes as she continues to adulthood. I would love to see her contribute her philosophy of life to other teens who often lose their battle against adversity. There is no excuse for opting out of a productive life - and she is living proof of that.

At 12/11/12 1:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATS Shayla!!!! Christi would be honored and proud of you!!!

At 12/11/12 8:33 AM, Blogger Sammie Ryan said...

Oh my gosh Shayla how wonderful do you look....really beautiful.

Congratulations Shayla so delighted for you.
Angela and Shayne you must be so proud of your daughter!
Great news for you all.

Love Sam (Dublin Ireland)xxx

At 23/11/12 6:32 AM, Blogger Love Being A Nonny said...

I am so excited you posted this! Love seeing these girls compete in pageants! WOW...she is amazing! Gorgeous...Incredibly Smart.....she has the whole package! I know how proud you must be!

At 29/11/12 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My Goodness! I haven't checked in for a while and I missed a whole lot! SHAYLA, you are a GORGEOUS young woman! Congrats on your title...that is amazing. (not a surprise, I think your family is amazing, as I've followed you through the years). I have not forgotten about you all...or Christi. Wow! I have a lot more blog-reading/catching-up to do I see. But wanted to send my biggest congrats to such a beautiful lady!! :)
Amy Brown
Gleason, WI

At 4/2/13 12:10 AM, Blogger pc sharma said...

very attractive post, thanks for sharing.
IT Support


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