BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – On June 19, Clay City’s Haley Wheeler was crowned Miss Kentucky 2021. Wheeler will now compete for the Miss America crown later this year.
Wheeler won the Miss Bowling Green preliminary contest to earn his place on the Miss Kentucky stage. She said she considers Bowling Green her “second home” as she is a two-time graduate from Western Kentucky University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders, a minor in American Sign Language Studies, and her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology. Wheeler says she knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the healthcare field, then a parent’s diagnosis reinforced her desire to do so. “I had watched my great-grandfather fight Alzheimer’s disease at a young age and undergo therapy, and I didn’t really understand it then, but then when I was in my sophomore year. ‘university, it really reaffirmed what it was meant to do, ”Wheeler said.
Wheeler’s platform is A Stitch of Hope: Alzheimer’s Awareness. “Initially, it was a passionate project to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. My great-grandfather passed away when I was 15, and it really touched me in a way that at the time I didn’t think the circle would come full circle … so now I’m looking to bridge the gap. gap between the youth of Kentucky and the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, through volunteering and using the talents some people might consider that make them a little weird, and using them to embrace the world that surrounds them and have an impact on the elderly.
Wheeler said winning Miss Kentucky and now preparing to enter the Miss America pageant is a dream come true. “I had dreamed for a long time, ever since I was little and watched my first Miss America, to step on this stage and represent Kentucky nationally.” Until then, being Miss Kentucky is Wheeler’s full-time job. She is the official spokesperson for Kentucky Proud and the Department of Agriculture and makes public appearances. She is also preparing for her stay at Miss America in Mohegan Sun, Connecticut in December 2021, which includes polishing her performance for the talent portion of the contest. “I’m a singer, so I sing every day in the car, in the shower, to my friends, to my neighbors, to the chickens that live next door to me. They probably don’t like it, ”she laughed.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Miss America Scholarship Competition. Wheeler said: “In 1921 a 16-year-old girl won when it was just a swimwear competition. Now look how far we’ve come and it’s such an honor to be a part of this 100th grade class. I’ve communicated with the girls that I will be competing with before, and they are just the sweetest and really the brightest and the best that America has to offer. So I’m really excited to meet them and be able to compete with them.
Wheeler said there is a lot to look forward to when it comes to her reign as Miss Kentucky and her experience as Miss America. “It’s so cool to be able to represent that nationally and just to be that girl from eastern Kentucky who grew up not really thinking these things happened to people where I was from, and being able to tell you. know what, it can happen, and to inspire little girls who might be in the same situation as me.
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