Gamma Phi Circus president and Illinois State University music education and vocal performance major Sophie Remmert was named 2020 Miss Blackhawk Valley.

Remmert will compete for the title of Miss Illinois in June.

The Blackhawk Valley pageant is a local sector of the national Miss America 2.0 pageant, a continuation of the original Miss America pageants in which the original swimsuit competition is replaced by a social initiative platform.

“This organization strives to be more inclusive and to empower young women to be the future leaders in the world through service and education,” Remmert said.

“The Miss America organization is actually one of the nation’s largest providers of academic scholarships, as all monetary winnings are in the form of scholarships.”

Local pageants hold four stages of competition including a private interview with the judges, a brief on-stage interview, talent portion and evening gown showcase with the presentation of a 10-20 second social impact statement.

“I think the most intimidating part can be the on-stage interview, as it really tests your ability to think quickly and respond in crucial situations, however the best thing you can do is just trust yourself and go out with confidence because being poised and bold makes all the difference,” Remmert said.

According to Remmert, the on-stage interviews are designed to test each candidate’s global awareness and media literacy.

“This is such a positive and necessary skill for an overall sense of awareness as a leader in society,” Remmert said. “While this was just my first pageant, I fully see the benefits and the wonderful ways this organization is bringing up women as future leaders and role models in society, and that is just what we need.”

As Miss Blackhawk Valley, Remmert will appear at various events to promote her platform and give back to the community.

“They range from singing the national anthem to leading community service projects, volunteering and everything in between. I will strive to be a leader and role model within the community,” Remmert said.

Remmert’s social initiative platform “Art for All – the Need for STEAM” advocates for the integration of art education into every subject field schools offer.

“I chose this platform because I am a music education major, and I fully see the value that music and the arts as a whole bring to the lives of students,” Remmert said.

“I could not be more thankful for the memories and experiences I have been granted through my participation in the arts. It has truly shaped my life and the person that I am today.”

As more schools embrace the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Remmert hopes educators will also address the need for art programs and funding.

“I most certainly feel that a STEM education is very beneficial to students in the 21st century, however art is absolutely crucial to foster creativity, collaboration, innovation, expression and confidence in these students,” Remmert said.

MAIA HUDDLESTON is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at mkhuddl@ilstu.edu Follow her on Twitter at @maiawrites 

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