Thursday, November 17, 2011

Women of Achievement

Today I had the opportunity to attend the Staten Island Advance's Women of Achievement luncheon and I have to say it was inspiring. The guest speaker was Dr. Oz - which was definitely cool! I tried to get a picture with him, but it was nearly impossible (which I should have expected); So, this is will just have to do:

As for the honorees, I can only hope to be half the woman they are when I grow up. Today we honored: Christina Chukalas (a girl scout leader for 40 years), Betty Harty (a long time boy scout leader), Elissa Montanti (volunteer for young victims from war-torn countries), Lynn A. Rogers (a protector of Staten Island cemeteries), and Elizabeth Rooney (an advocate for abandoned animals).

The honoree who left the greatest impression on me was certainly Elissa Montanti. Known as "the saint of Staten Island," this women has dedicated her life to helping others. Her mission is bring hope back into the lives of young victims from war-torn countries. Ms. Montanti brings children to America brings them to doctors who provide them with life-saving surgeries. Three of the children she had worked with were at the ceremony to show their appreciation. A young man, now 29 years old and a graduate of the College of Staten Island, told Ms. Montanti, "I love you." It was such a touching moment in the ceremony. She received a standing ovation, but I don't think any award was great enough to truly appreciate all that she has done. It is women like this that give me the determination to be more than I think I can. They were all simply amazing and beautiful representations of Staten Island.

I also got the chance to sit and speak with Miss New York 2011, Kaitlin Monte! I was seated with her as well as other guests from the Miss New York Organization. Talk about beautiful representations... this girl has it all! I honestly can't believe everything she has been doing to prepare for Miss America in January! I wish you the best of luck at the National pageant, Kaitlin! I know you will be fabulous.

So there you have it - another successful day! I look forward to whatever may come next : ]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Precious Preemie Fashion Show

On Sunday, the day after I was crowned Miss Staten Island 2012, I made my first appearance! What a whirlwind! I was definitely excited to jump right into my duties and meet some amazing people along the way. I had no idea what I was in store for, but I was ready!

What I experienced was more than I could have imagined. The Ninth Annual Precious Preemie Fashion Show was hosted by the March of Dimes and held at The Vanderbilt at South Beach. With World Prematurity Day coming up on Thursday, this helped to raise awareness and funds for the March of Dimes organization.

Along side Miss Richmond County 2012, Stephanie Accardo, I was called on to walk the runway and answer a few questions about my pageant experience. Because Stephanie and I are not (by any means) singers, I was asked to lead the audience in the Pledge. It is so silly, but I just felt so privileged to be a part of this special day.

Besides taking many, many pictures - which I enjoyed very much - I had the opportunity to speak with the parents about their "little miracles." I was truly inspired by the courage of the all the families, and the children themselves.

As they strutted their stuff down the runway - many even dancing and waving to the audience - their stories were told to the crowd. It was amazing to hear how some of them were born at only 1 pound and spent over 100 days in the NICU! It was honor to spend the day with these heros...

I look forward to my next appearance! This is going to be such a wonderful and inspiring year!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The New Miss Staten Island 2012 Is...

Hello everyone! I am Jamie Lynn Macchia, Miss Staten Island 2012 (how crazy is that?)!! This all still feels like a dream to me, so forgive me if I leave anything out :]

I still remember when I first joined the Miss Staten Island Organization 3 years ago. I competed for the title of Miss Staten Island 2009 and 2010, receiving 2nd runner-up and 1st runner-up. My first year, I simply entered for the experience. Even though I have been a competitive dancer for many years, I had never done a pageant before and I knew that there had to be girls who knew more than I did. I was so excited to just have fun and gain some confidence. It was a wonderful experience, and I came out of it not only with more knowledge about myself, but a 2nd runner-up placement! I came back the next year more prepared, and ready to see if it was time to achieve my ultimate goal - to become Miss Staten Island. Walking away with the 1st runner-up title was an honor, but it only made me more determined to come back, again.

After taking a year off to mature, gain experience, and work on my platform, I entered the Miss Staten Island Scholarship Pageant for 2012. This past Saturday, November 12, after a beautiful show, the awards began. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and I couldn't stop my body from shaking! First our wonderful hosts announced the additional scholarship awards. I was lucky to receive three of these:
  • Higher Education Award, donated by Dr. John S. Cavallaro, Jr. & Dr. Anna Marie Trunncali (Miss Staten Island 1988)
  • Miss Congeniality Award in Memory of 1979 Miss Congeniality Denise Attillo (Voted on by the contestants - thank you all so much for this!)
  • Performing Arts Award, donated by Gail Willadsen Criscione of Star Struck Dance (Miss Staten Island 1989)
You could imagine my excitement at this point - I was so thankful! Then they began to announce the teen winners. I am so proud of both Alexa Moley, Miss Richmond County's Outstanding Teen, and Hannah Perri, Miss Staten Island's Outstanding Teen! They were so happy and it is well-deserved!

Next was the Miss Title Holders - OH BOY! 1st runner-up was announced - Amanda Rae Davis. What a wonderful young lady. This was her first time in a pageant, and I know she has a bright future ahead of her!

"And the new Miss Richmond County 2012 is...Stephanie Accardo!" Her family and friends were screaming and cheering for her! They all had cute shirts made so that everyone knew which contestant was theirs! This was her first pageant, as well, and this is a huge accomplishment!

But now I knew there was only one title left. Could it be me? Did I do enough? I felt confident, but you never know what the judges are thinking. And finally, my dream came true...


I will spend my year promoting my platform, "The Make-A-Wish Foundation: Encouraging Others to Share the Power of a Wish," in honor of my best friend Dominic LaForgia, who passed away from leukemia nearly 5 years ago. I will keep his memory alive, while helping others. In addition, I will work to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network, the Miss America Organization's official platform.

I look forward to a busy, but AMAZING year with the Miss Staten Island Organization. I know that I can represent this borough well and make you all very proud! Thank you to my friends for all of your encouraging words, to my wonderful boyfriend, Nicholas, for his continuous support in all that I do, and to my family who is always there for me - no matter what. A special thanks to the Miss Staten Island Scholarship Pageant's volunteers, you've shown me how to be comfortable with who I am and present myself with grace, and to my Mom and Dad, without you I wouldn't be the person I am today. THANK YOU ALL!

Miss Staten Island 2012,
Jamie Lynn Macchia