Youth are the future, and 8-year-old Alexis Schroeder, of Isanti, is already making the world a better place.
She was crowned as 2013 Young American Junior Miss International on July 13 in St. Louis. As any royal does, Alexis has a platform that enables her to make a difference and leave her mark on humanity as she embarks on her journey through the next year.
Alexis competed in her first pageant two years ago and was fourth runner up at the 2012 Young American Junior Miss International Pageant. When she was crowned, Alexis accepted her title with humble anticipation.
“It was like I was surprised,” Alexis said.
Fittingly enough for a young girl with a sweet tooth, Alexis celebrated her title at the Gateway Arch with Dunkin’ Donuts.
A major component of the competition’s scoring system is based on community service and how competitors would use their titles if selected to represent young girls across the nation.
“You get to volunteer,” said Alexis of one of her opportunities in her new role.
Alexis is already fulfilling a service in her quest to help end hunger. She volunteers with Feed My Starving Children and Kids Against Hunger. Her mother, Nicole Schroeder, is happy to help her daughter make an impact and is devoted to helping her fulfill her desire to help other people.
“The main things we said we were going to try to focus on this year are Feed My Starving Children and then also with New Pathways,” Schroeder said of her daughter’s primary service goals over the next year.
Alexis is already planning to build a box so that she can spend the night in New Pathways’ Box City event next year that helps raise awareness and funds for those experiencing homelessness in Central Minnesota.
Alexis has also donated to Toys for Tots, helped with the Isanti Lions’ annual Christmas project and volunteers with her grandmother at nursing homes. Such an emphasis on community involvement and a heart for service is not typically associated with pageants, but Schroeder explained that her daughter competes in a pageant system that is far different than what is portrayed on TV shows like “Toddler and Tiaras.”
Young American Miss International is a natural pageant system, meaning that participants are required to wear age-appropriate outfits and forgo makeup, hair extensions, spray tans and fake nails. Alexis’ excitement to compete in this pageant system is that she can be herself. Her main responsibility as a contestant attests to her inner beauty.
“You want to show your personality to the judges,” Alexis said.
Schroeder said that building her daughter’s confidence and fostering skills, like poise in public speaking, is an advantage of her participation in the pageants.
Competitors are scored on community involvement and personality questions as part of a preapplication process and then compete in patriotic wear and most photogenic. From there, the top five scorers compete in a final category of formal wear.
“In this pageant, everyone is rooting for each other and they’re all really good friends and she has grown a ton, and people that don’t see her very often just say she is turning into a positive young lady,” Schroeder said.
Alexis is looking forward to starting third grade at Isanti Intermediate School where she will have Mrs. Poppen as a teacher.
She is active in dance and Girl Scouts, but serving her community holds a special place in her heart.