March 26, 2009
Legislature honors Miss Oklahoma
By Staff Report
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
The State Legislature honored Miss Oklahoma 2008 Kelsey Cartwright this week. During her reign, Cartwright has been traveling around the state and nation promoting her platform of open adoption to nontraditional families. She got the idea from her father’s experience in attempting to learn about his adoption. Oklahoma currently has closed adoption laws and has placed legal barriers in the path of those wanting information about their adoption.
Cartwright was selected Miss Oklahoma at the 36th annual scholarship pageant at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma last year. The then 20-year-old sophomore dance management major at Oklahoma City University won the preliminary swimsuit competition.
In the talent portion of the competition she performed a lyrical dance to “I Want You to Need Me”. Cartwright qualified for the state competition by winning the Miss Keystone Lake pageant. One of 42 contestants in the Miss Oklahoma pageant, she received a $16,000 scholarship and a new car. She then went on to compete in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada in January.
“We are so proud of Kelsey, and were delighted to have her at the Capitol and get to congratulate her and thank her for being such an outstanding representative for our state,” said Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville who also represents Cartwright’s hometown of Collinsville. “She is a great role model for all ages, and she’s going to help so many Oklahomans who want to learn more about their adoption.”
When introduced in the Senate, Cartwright talked about traveling around the state visiting schools.
“It’s been an incredible experience being Miss Oklahoma,” said Cartwright. “Our youth and students are on such a great path. They’ve got huge goals and high ambitions. I’m proud to say that I’m able to represent them. I get to talk about setting goals and making good choices, and hopefully just be a phenomenal role model for them. That’s what I love to do. I think I have the best job in the entire world.”
Collinsville Mayor Stan Sallee, Kelsey Cartwright, Sen Randy Brodgon“I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with Miss Cartwright, and I can tell you she is a fine lady that represents the state of Oklahoma extremely well. She is a tremendous young lady who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside,” said Brogdon, R-Owasso. “We were so pleased to get to honor her and wish her all the best during her reign and in her future endeavors.”
The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. The Kiwanis Club of Tulsa has sponsored the Miss Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant for 33 years, during which they have awarded over $40 million in cash and tuition scholarships to young Oklahoma women.
Cartwright, a junior at Oklahoma City University, has been dancing since she was two years old, and she plans on opening a studio after her graduation in 2011.
Kelsey is a member of the prestigious American Spirit Dance Company at OCU and dances in the Christmas and Spring shows every year. Also chosen as a “Line Captain,” she was trusted as leader of over 50 students her age. She was also 1 of 27 members chosen to go on tour and exhibit the esteemed dance program at Oklahoma City University. Before her OCU experience Kelsey trained at Attitudes Dance Studio in her hometown of Collinsville, Oklahoma and got her hands on numerous championship trophies. She was chosen as the “Senior Dancer of the Year” at Rainbow National Competition and the “Oklahoma Dancer of the Year” at Talent Explosion Dance Competition. The Tremaine Dance Convention also provided Kelsey with scholarships that allowed her to study with them in their tour throughout the U.S.
She put herself through all “Advanced Placement” classes in high school and was able to come out of it as the 2006 Salutatorian of her class. She was the secretary of the National Honor Society as well, and put a lot of her time in high school into community service projects through NHS and Student Council. As a freshman at OCU she was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma honor society and still holds an office. Also playing a large part in her college life was her sorority, Alpha Phi, where Kelsey held the office of “Director of New Member Development.” She worked to ensure that active members maintained a strong understanding of Alpha Phi’s morals and codes of conduct.
Going into the Miss Oklahoma Pageant with three other Alpha Phi sisters, Kelsey remained confident despite the fact that she was a first-time rookie. She had competed in 11 local pageants before she captured a local title and in February 2008 she won her first preliminary as Miss Keystone Lake. Even with little time to prepare for the Miss Oklahoma Pageant, she walked away with a Swimsuit preliminary award, Rookie of the Year, the Brooke E. Hailey scholarship, and the title of Miss Oklahoma 2008, proving that no matter the circumstance, dreams can come true!
Because Kelsey’s father was adopted, they were never able to embrace their family history or have access to their medical records because Oklahoma has a closed record policy. She and her father immediately began working to have the adoption file opened and once she realized the impact it made on her father she knew she wanted all adoptees to have the same opportunity. Kelsey has made this her platform and aids in the effort to change Oklahoma’s laws. In the meantime, she encourages all individuals to embrace their heritage and family history because its one of the only things that truly belongs to you. Kelsey hopes that she can touch the lives of many throughout her year of service.