Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meet Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017

On the wall as you enter my room, hangs a picture that serves as a reminder.  The bold letters say, “Be Brave,” followed by my confirmation verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I do my best to live my life with passion and purpose. I am a junior at Fargo South High School. I adore my family and friends and spend most of my free time singing and performing in musical theatre.  My favorite part of my daily routine is helping teach the woman’s choir, at my school.  My Music Education platform is my daily passion.
I auditioned for my first choir when she was six years old.  Since then, I have developed a diverse background in performing arts.  My experience includes musical theatre, lead vocals in a band, state music contests, state choir, competitive figure skating, dance and pageants. I have participated in several musicals in the past few years. Last year, I was recognized as, The Outstanding Soloist in Eastern North Dakota, at Music Contest.  I have been delighted to have the opportunity to work with the amazing mentors at my school, as well as at the Minnesota Opera and Broadway Professionals, through Open Jar Workshop.
It was at an Open Jar Workshop, where Jeff Whiting shared his story of playing the lead role in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, on Broadway.  He tearfully recalled being impressed with his rendition of the character.  Following the show, a young boy in the audience reached out to him and Jeff noticed that the boy had a disabled arm.  “We did it!” the boy said. This encounter caused a shift in the way Jeff saw his role as an actor.  It was no longer about him doing an amazing job, but rather it was about telling a character’s story that needed to be told.
I believe music and the performing arts is a profoundly human experience. It not only enriches our lives, but it connects us to one another through our human experience. I feel that music in our schools is often undervalued.  Funding for music programs is often limited when finances are not there.  I want to challenge people to see music education not only as something that enriches our lives, but improves the skills necessary for school success.
In the future, I hope to become more involved in music advocacy.  I want to expand my partnership with The North Dakota Music Educators to support community and school based music education.  My intention is to highlight the need for quality music opportunities in rural and low-income areas. After graduation, I plan to attend a college with an outstanding Music Education Program and eventually work on my doctorate. Ultimately, I aspire to be the inspiration for young people that my music teachers have been to me.
Yours in harmony, 
 Payton Hausauer, Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Meet Miss North Dakota International 2017

It is still so unreal to me. I am not sure if the excitement or disbelief will ever fade away?!  As my crowning was only a couple weeks ago my heart was and still is so over whelmed with joy from all the love that I have received from friends and family. Since I am your new Miss North Dakota International 2017, I figured we should take some time to get to know each other…

Waun-Jai Shannon Simpfenderfer was born in Thailand on February 21, and shortly after moved with her family to Stanton, North Dakota. Siam is a preferred nickname that was given to her at birth. Siam is youngest of three girls in her family. She attended Stanton Elementary School and then secondary school in at Center- Stanton High School. 

During high school, Siam loved to be involved extracurricular activities. She held positions such as president of the student council, class vice president, vice president of Students Against Destructive Decisions, captain of the varsity volleyball team, and captain of the dance and drill team. She was also involved with the science club, band, peer youth, golf, track and field, and basketball. Being from a small town there were many opportunities to hold such positions and titles in each extra curricular activity. This helped develop Siam’s love for being involved in the community and organizations. She has been involved with activities and organizations such as Salvation Army bell ringing, ditch cleaning, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, and volunteering for Nokomis Child Care. Siam is currently involved in the Student Nurse's Association on campus at North Dakota State University.

Siam currently is a junior at North Dakota State University currently obtaining a bachelor's of science in nursing while minoring in human development and family science. Siams’ love and experience with children have influenced her to pursue this degree to help others. She loves the joy and playfulness that the tiny humans of the world bring. Siam plans to work in pediatrics after receiving her RN, BSN.

Other than promoting the American Heart Association, Siam’s platform is It's Okay to Not Be Okay - Suicide Awareness and Prevention. Siam lost her own mother to suicide at the age of 5. She wants to rid the stigma that surrounds suicide in order to reach those who are suffering and educate others on warning signs. During her year of reigning she would like to travel the state of North Dakota making appearances and encouraging young people to understand that it is okay to ask for help and offer support to those affected by suicide. Siam is also very excited to have the chance to travel and meet so many people and make a difference. She is particularly excited for nationals in Charleston, West Virginia this August as she has never been to West Virginia.

During Siam’s free time, you can find her either studying, or at the lake enjoying the sun and friends. She also enjoys doing things such as traveling, snowboarding, surfing, wake boarding, baking, watching television series, or working at one of two jobs. Siam and her sister queens have already made so many plans for the year and ready to give nationals their best shot!

Forever and Always,

Your Miss North Dakota International 2017
Siam Simpfenderfer


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mr. North Dakota International

So, I’ve been given the assignment to write a blog. I can honestly say I wasn’t sure what that meant at first, as I’ve never written one before, but since my wife asked me so nicely to write one, I’ve agreed to give it a try, so here it goes.

This past year has definitely been full of unexpected, but awesome, experiences. My wife and I had only been married 3 months prior to the pageant, and just 1 month prior to her telling me her idea of participating in a pageant. Not only was this a new experience for her, as she had never participated in pageants before, but this was definitely a new experience for me too. Even though she had never done anything like this before, knowing the type of person my wife is, I never had any doubt that she would become the next Mrs. North Dakota International, so I did my best to get ready for what was to come.

I’ve ever met someone who genuinely wants to make a difference in people’s lives as much as Ashley does. She is so selfless and always seems to put the needs of others in front of her own. Watching her do all of the different things that she does for other people makes me want to do the same. She inspires you to want to be a better person. Ashley has definitely changed me in some ways, but not because she’s tried to. Just like I am always there to support her for who she is, she is always there to support me for who I am, but she also encourages and challenges me every day to be the best person I can be, and for that I feel very lucky to be able to call her my wife.

Although I was a little worried at first about how busy our schedules would become, this year has been worth it. We’ve experienced so many great things because of this opportunity. I’ve been able to attend events with Ashley and have hopefully helped make a difference in people’s lives. Even though our ‘newlywed’ schedules were quite a bit busier than I expected they would be, I truly think that this experience has helped us become closer as husband and wife and has made our relationship stronger in many ways, as we’ve learned to turn to God for support and have worked together as a couple to make sure he’s at the center of our lives.

Thank you to the North Dakota International Pageant for all of their support during this past year.

Andrew Klinger
‘Mr.’ North Dakota International 2016