July 20, 2015, Knoxville, Tennessee
On July 27th, Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Jenny Morton will take her very first airplane flight in her 32 years of life. She will be taking off for Des Moines, Iowa to compete in the national Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant. The competition begins as soon as all of the titleholders from each of the participating states arrive, and will culminate in the highly anticipated announcement of the new Ms. Wheelchair America.
The entire Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee organization would like to wish our Jenny Morton safe travels and all the best as she joins her fellow wheel sisters for what many competitors call a “life changing” event. The week is packed full of workshops, interviews with judges, and of course, fun. Jenny is “looking forward to making lifelong friends” and we know she will have no trouble doing this.
As Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Jenny Morton traveled across the state of Tennessee attending events and promoting the organization so that we can continue for years to come. Individuals who are interested in becoming the next Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee or would like to be involved in other ways may visit our website at www.mswheelchairtn.org or speak with the State Coordinator, Samantha at 865-441-6888.
Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is charged with a continuing effort to educate the public regarding the dignity, productiveness and basic values of people with disabilities. She must be able to communicate both the needs and abilities of her constituency to the general public, the business community and government. Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee will have the opportunity to travel and make public appearances, and she will ultimately represent Tennessee at the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant.
Five wonderful individuals came to compete in Knoxville this weekend at the annual Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee crowning ceremony. Competing for the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, was Amanda Northrup of Cleveland, April Warren of Alcoa, and Amanda Szidiropulosz also of Cleveland. Kaylee Arrowood of Johnson City was the Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee applicant. Skylar Vaughn-Hisey of Ooltewah was the Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee applicant. Before resting up for a busy Saturday, they were able to spend some time with their families at Market Square dining and shopping. The competition began early Saturday morning with the delivery of platform speeches. Each Ms. Wheelchair contestant gave a two to three minute speech on an issue that is important to her. Afterwards, each contestant was interviewed twice by a panel of judges. The judges were Jeri Wasco, state coordinator for Ms. Wheelchair D.C., Dr. Gene Hayes, professor of Recreation and Sports Studies at University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and Dennis Clark, IT service provider of Oak Ridge. The contestants answered fishbowl questions and gave their platform speeches for the audience before judges left to deliberate.
Café 4 at Market Square was awarded the Accessible Business Award. The Triple Star Award was given to Superior Van & Mobility of Knoxville for providing outstanding support to the community. The Advocacy Award was given to Amanda Szidiropulosz for promoting empowerment of individuals with disabilities and having the best understanding of the philosophy of the Independent Living Movement. Ms. Congeniality was presented to Amanda Northrup and was voted thus by her fellow contestants. April Warren was awarded both Best Speech and People’s Choice. Votes for People’s Choice were accepted until 5:30pm on Saturday.
Our winners this year are Amanda Szidiropulosz, Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Kaylee Arrowood, Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee, and Skylar Vaughn-Hisey, Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee. First runner up for Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee was Amanda Northrup and second runner up was April Warren. Amanda Szidiropulosz will have the opportunity to travel to Long Beach, California this August to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America 2015. It is a prestigious title and another opportunity to travel and speak on behalf of her community to promote awareness and positive change to the lives of all Americans.
On Saturday March 22nd, three incredible women will compete for the esteemed title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2014. These lovely ladies have been chosen for their presence in their communities and focus on advocacy for and with individuals with disabilities. Each contestant has been utilizing her time prior to the pageant to raise funds and spread awareness about her specific cause. This will prepare the ladies for a day of interviews, workshops, and finally, the crowning ceremony.
This year, we have chosen to hold our event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Guests will be able to attend the ceremony for free and should arrive around 4:30 pm to find seats near the front. T-shirts are on sale now for those who wish to wear them in support of their favorite contestant. The following women and young ladies will be competing for the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee, and Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee 2014. Amanda Northrup, of Cleveland is a mother and fitness enthusiast. She is focused on promoting health and fitness for individuals with disabilities. April Warren, of Alcoa studies medical coding. Her goal is to advocate for access to medical care for individuals with mobility disabilities. Amanda Szidiropulosz, also of Cleveland is an elementary music teacher at Charleston Elementary school system. She wants to create a “no limits” mindset for youths with disabilities. Kaylee Arrowood, of Johnson City is a Girl Scout, a member of her high school Sparkle squad, and does not like missing even one day of school. Kaylee wishes to educate individuals about what it is like to be an active youth with a disability. Skylar Vaughn-Hisey, of Ooltewah is a grandpa’s girl who loves sports and her music class at school. She is excited to make new friends and be involved with the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee organization.
The woman chosen to be Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee will also have the opportunity to travel to Long Beach, California this August to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America 2015. It is a prestigious title and another opportunity to travel and speak on behalf of her community to promote awareness and positive change to the lives of all Americans.