I am very excited because this is my first post as Miss Fulton County 2010. I'll start by introducing myself and telling you a little about myself so you can get to know me, and see why I am doing this. My name is Heather Shaffer and I am currently a junior at Elmira College where I am majoring in Biology with a focus on Pre-Med. I am originally from Broadalbin, NY in Fulton County, and have lived there all of my twenty-one years. After I finish my undergrad next year, I want to continue on to medical school (hopefully Vanderbilt University!) where I will study to become a facial reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon. I want to ultimately become a member of a cleft team to help children that have been affected with cleft lips and cleft palates. I have recently been doing research on the Smile Train, which helps thousands of children in 77 of the world's poorest countries by empowering local doctors to use their resources to fix this treatable birth defect. Though they do not send American doctors to these developing countries, I would want to be a member of a cleft team to help children affected by these birth defects in our own country and truly make a difference in their lives. I will have another post about this organization at a later time.
I was crowned as Miss Fulton County 2010 February 6, 2010. I was incredibly excited because I had competed in Miss Fulton County the previous three years without obtaining the title. I had previously been 3rd runner up (2007) and 1st runner up (2008 and 2009). It had been a goal of mine to obtain this title to truly represent my county to the best of my ability and to promote my platform in a better way. My platform is Promoting the Importance of Volunteering to the Youth of Today. I hope to show the youth of our communities that they can truly make a difference. I want to show them that you do not have to have a huge project to make a difference in your community; by performing small acts of community service, they can make a big difference. There are so many opportunities to volunteer that many just are not exposed to. I want to raise the awareness of these volunteering opportunites so that more youth can become active in them. Volunteering is not just a one way road: true, they are helping others, but they would also benefit because it gives them a sense of accomplishment by immediately seeing how their efforts have an effect on others. I hope to use this blog to allow those, especially in Fulton County, to become aware of the many volunteering opportunities that are out there!
So what have I been doing since my crowning? Well, I have been very busy finishing out my junior year here at Elmira College. Only 6 more days of classes, but who's counting right? Anyway, I cannot wait to be officially done on June 2nd and get home to continue prepping for Miss New York! I have also been busy starting to study for the MCATs, which I plan to take this summer. Though I am nervous for this test, since it is kind of a big deal, I know that with proper preparation I should do well enough to get into the medical schools I am looking at. It is so hard to believe that my undergraduate education is almost over! Other than being busy with school, I have also been busy with cheerleading. I am a three year member of the nationally ranked competition cheerleading team here at Elmira College. We have placed 5th (2008), 4th (2009), and 6th (2010) at NCA Nationals since I have competed on the team. We are working incredibly hard in our "off season" to build our skills up already for next year: we're looking to bring that National Championship back to EC! When I'm not busy with cheerleading, I am also the Co-Public Affairs Chair for Elmira College Comix, as well as a member of Beta Beta Beta (biology honor society), Pre-Health Club, Phi Eta Sigma (freshman honor society), and an Orientation Leader. I know I seem incredibly busy, but I promise I have still had time for my pageant stuff!
Since my college is three hours away from Fulton County, my board of directors has been kind enough to schedule all of my appearances for when I am home on break. It is great that they work with my schedule, but it also makes these week breaks very busy with appearances, which I love! I have been able to visit many elementary schools in the county to tell the children about myself, my platform, and the Miss America Organization. I love doing the appearances because the children are of course in awe of the crown, but the questions they ask are great! I love being able to show them that I am just a normal person, that I have been in their position before, and also how they can help their communities just like I am trying to do! I have also crowned my Outstanding Teen, Alexis Swatt. She is an amazing young woman with so much potential and I look forward to getting to know her more during our year of reign! I have also been fortunate enough to make appearances throughout the county. I thanked two of the Miss Fulton County Scholarship Program supporters, Rossbach Shoes and J Fine Jewlery for their support and for the gifts that I received upon my crowning. I also showed support for my community at the Broadalbin Home Show and by judging a cheerleading competition at my high school, Broadalbin-Perth. I attended Miss Mohawk Valley, where I watched my friend Kieren Sheridan get crowned! A couple girls from my court were with me to make an appearance at our local Price Chopper during my last break home. Now that school is almost over and I will be home for the duration of the summer, I cannot wait for the appearances I will make in the future! I am looking forward to being in my first parades next weekend at both the Gloversville and Johnstown Memorial Day Parades! Very exciting!
Since my platform is about volunteering, I try to bring this back to my team as well. My cheerleading team is involved with community service in the Elmira area. Yesterday, a fellow teammate and I went with some other student athletes to do Adopt-a-Highway. All of us gave up our day without classes to give back to the community. We cleaned up a portion of 17, the future I-86. Though it was hot, and cleaning up garbage on the side of the road is not the most glamorous thing I have ever done, it was a good time and we really helped out our community. It surprised me how much litter is actually on the side of our highways--gross. So I would just like to say please, please, please do not litter: it is disgusting and harms the ecosystems. I suggest that everyone reads The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It will open your eyes on how much we truly have an effect on our planet, and how our actions will continue to plague our planet when we cease to exist.
I know that this post was a little all over the place, but I just have so much that I wanted to say about the past few months! I promise the next posts will definitely be more organized and focused. I hope that this has been a decent introduction of me and my goals. You can stay updated on me and what I am up to through this blog, but also through the Miss Fulton County Website (www.angelfire.com/ny4/missfultoncountyorg). Definitely go check it out so you can see pictures from some of my appearances, as well as learn about my upcoming appearances!