Kennedy Chase, a Stivers School for the Arts junior, added another crown to her achievements last summer. She is the reigning Miss High School America.
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In this leadership position she has spoken to more than 2,000 students about the pitfalls of bullying in school. The national platform for the pageant is BRAVE (Building Respect and Values for Everyone).
“I hear lots of different stories, especially from the girls who have been bullied because of the way they look or how they dress,” said Chase, who lives in Sugarcreek Twp. “This one little girl was having problems with her confidence and self-esteem. She was only 7, and I kept telling her, ‘This is the way God made you. You’re beautiful just the way you are.’ ”
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, nearly one out of every four students reported being bullied during the 2015 school year. Chase has visited 10 schools in the Miami Valley, and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for speaking engagements. She has addressed from 20 to 300 students at any given time to help students.
“We’re setting up [speaking engagements] at Kettering and Centerville, and we’re trying to connect with Oakwood, as well,” said Kennedy’s mother, Annette Chase. “We want to reach as many schools as we can in the entire Miami Valley. We have received such good feedback so far.”
Besides her speaking platform, Chase has enjoyed many trips as the reigning Miss High School America. She traveled to Las Vegas for the Miss Teen USA Pageant, to Atlantic City for the Miss USA pageant. She visited with fashion designers in Atlanta and attended the Space Center in Houston for hands-on learning in engineering and science. She just returned from a visit with other pageant winners in Washington, D.C.
Giving back has included helping the Three Square Food Bank in Nevada and a USO Operation called That’s My Dress. She has visited Dayton Children’s Hospital, was invited to emcee the Dayton Public Schools’ Convocation last August and received a proclamation from Dayton mayor Nan Whaley in October.
Chase is accustomed to winning pageants. She was the National American Miss Ohio Junior Teen in 2014, and came in fourth in the Miss Ohio Teen U.S.A. contest. She also won Miss Ohio High School. That title put her in the running for her current title of Miss High School America that she won in San Antonio, Texas, on July 16.
“I am the first African-American who has won this title. Girls from all types of minority groups were emailing me and said they were inspired by me,” said Chase, who studies dance at Stivers and is a member of the national honor society. “It makes me happy to inspire girls from all ethnic groups to never give up on their dreams.”
As far as her dreams are concerned, she received an offer of $45,000 to attend Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri. But her dream schools are UCLA (the University of California, Los Angeles) or Pepperdine University, also in Southern California. As Miss High School America, she received a $10,000 scholarship to attend the school of her choice.
“I would like to major in business, and minor in either communications or nutritional science,” Chase said.