Monday, June 25, 2012

PS 55 "Wish For Change" Winner!

I visited PS 55 on May 29th & 30th to kickoff the "Wish For Change" fundraiser. The kids seemed very excited and eager to begin raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I told them that PS 39 raised around $1,200 and PS 50 raised about $1,900. I challenged them not only to be the winning class in their school, but to be the top fundraising school!
When I went back to the school to collect the buckets, I could already tell that these classes worked hard to raise as much money as they could. One class even dropped off two filled buckets!
As I guessed, this was the winning class. With a total of nearly $420, Ms. Pascale's 3rd grade class won the pizza party with me! After counting all of the money, I also saw that PS 55 accepted my challenge and succeeded! The school raised a total of:

I had no idea that it was possible for an elementary school to help me raise so much money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York. I am so incredibly proud of PS 55, as well as PS 39 & PS 50!

On Friday, June 22nd, I went into Ms. Pascale's class to enjoy a pizza party with the students (as I had promised). They were as proud of themselves as I was! "Did we really raise the most money?" they asked. I don't think they believed they could really achieve something like this, but I'm glad that I showed them they can do whatever they put their mind to.
Thank you PS 55 for all of your fundraising efforts and to Ms. Pascale's class for not only raising the most money in PS 55, but the most of any class in any school. Congratulations!

Keynote Speaker at PS 8's Graduation

I'm going to blog about some more recent appearances before I begin my "Miss New York Week" blog. There's just too much to say about that experience!!

On June 21st, though, I had another amazing experience. If I had a bucket list, this most certainly would have been on it. PS 8, my very own elementary school, welcomed me as the keynote speaker at the 5th grade graduation! This is not something many people have the opportunity to experience, and to have been able to be a guest speaker at only 20 years old is an honor.
That's me up there! I'm in the picture with the students (on the cover) and in the program!

I arrived at IS 24 and the memories came rushing back to me. Not only did I graduate from PS 8 in IS 24, just as these students were, I also attended IS 24 for junior high school! Sure, the school looked a little different, but it was still the same.
It was extremely hot, with temperatures in the high 90s, but everyone was still in good spirits. The kids already knew who I was because I've made two appearances at the school this year. They were excited to see me and I was glad to see I made an impact on them. The teachers were happy to see me, as well, since most of them have watched me grow up!
I took my spot on the stage, and though it was definitely warm up there, I was ready to give my speech. I only hoped that I would be able to keep the attention of not only the families, but the 88 graduating 5th graders, too. The graduates entered, sang a song, and took their seats. One little girl, Kayla, gave the welcome speech. She was wonderful! Definitely a future Miss Staten Island, here.
It was finally my turn and I approached the podium. I delivered my speech and it went smoother than I could've imagined. The students listened intently the entire time! I spoke about my experiences with the Miss America Organization, what its done for me, and what I've learned that could help them in their futures. I felt great when it was over and I have faith that I delivered a message they can take with them forever. Faculty and parents even asked for a copy of my speech - signed!
During the rest of the ceremony, I enjoyed the PS 8 band, the graduates' songs, and presented students with awards. I even received my own award! It was entitled, "PS 8's Shining Stars!" I was so surprised to be receiving anything, I didn't even hear them call my name!

At the end of the ceremony I took pictures with some of the students and even signed some of the band members' sheet music! As I said before, it was an honor to be a part of this day. Thank you to the prinicpal, Ms. Esposito, and the assistant principal, Ms. Hotaling. I will never forget this!

PS 50 "Wish For Change" Winner!

A while back, I announced that PS 50's "Wish For Change" winner was class Ms. Maddaloni's 2nd grade class who raised $226.18. In total, their school raised $1,941.52 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York. I am so proud of them!
Last Wednesday, June 20th, I rewarded this class with a pizza party for all of their hard work! I spoke with the kids and they told me how they raised the money. From doing chores at home, to selling baked goods, every student worked to earn the money they donated. This is exactly what I wanted to see! In addition, Ms. Maddaloni told me that she matched their donations. It's so great to see the teachers getting involved and feeling the philanthropic spirit : ]
In addition to our pizza party, it was one student's birthday! Cupcakes made a wonderful finale to our celebration. I even got to enjoy a performance from one little girl who was a champion ballroom dancer - how cool!
The love these students have for each other, their teacher, and volunteering is inspiring. It reminded me why I chose this platform and why I love to work with children. They always see the good in people and they truly understand what it means to help others.
Congratulations to Ms. Maddaloni's class! Keep up the good work!

CMN: Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of NY

On June 8th I visited my first Children's Miracle Network Hospital! After raising $1,400 (in this year alone) for CMN, it was a wonderful experience to see what all of this money was supporting.

I was joined by a few other members of the Miss New York Class of 2012. We entered Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York and were greeted by the staff. They showed us where we would be meeting some of the children, in our own little section of the lobby.
When the kids came down to meet us, they seemed a bit nervous at first. Once we got them speaking, though, and asking us questions, they really opened up. It was great to be able to speak with each one of them individually. Whether they were toddlers or teenagers, they all had their own ways of connecting with us and I think that they really enjoyed our visit as much as we did.
We weren't allowed to take pictures with our own cameras with the children. One of the nurses, though, took pictures and when those get emailed to us, I will post them! It was an amazing experience and I hope that in the future I get to visit more of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals!

Friday, June 22, 2012

CMN Volleyball Game

With Miss New York, it's been a crazy fews weeks! Before I get to that though, let's go back to June 4th. With the help of the Staten Island Technical High School PTA, I hosted a Charity Volleyball Game at the school.
Students & faculty were invited to create their own teams and compete against each other for the coveted 1st prize trophies. As more and more people came through the door, I began to worry that we didn't have enough team slots to fit everyone! We had the perfect amount, though, and even a few spectators who came to cheer on their friends.
Because S.I. Tech is my alma-mater, it was nice to come back to such overwhelming support. The teachers wished me luck on my journey to Miss New York and the students listened eagerly as I explained the Children's Miracle Network. The best quote I heard that night: "Your crown defies the laws of physics!" Oh, the things you'll only hear in Tech...
The games were fierce and everyone was very competitive. After many rounds of elimination, we finally had a winning team. Congratulations, boys!
After the event, we were able to make a donation of $800 to the Children's Miracle Network! This is more than the volleyball game has ever raised in all of its years of existence! I am also proud to say that, during my year as Miss Staten Island, I've been able to raise a total of $1,400 for this organization. I know that all of these donations will be put to good use and I'm so happy to have been a part of it. Thank you to the Staten Island Technical High School PTA, the students, and staff!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zion Family Carnival

After an invitation from a dear friend, Diane Pilatsky, I made my way to the Zion Family Carnival on Saturday, June 2nd. This was a fundraiser for the Zion Lutheran Preschool.
I love the carnival idea for a fundraiser. You could see all of the joy on the children's faces as they played around with carnival games and on rides. There were raffles and food, too! I like events like this because they allow me to really be a part of the community. I took photos with the families and even a few pets!
One of my favorite parts of the day was watching three little dancers perform. They danced their hearts out and you could see how much they loved to put on a show. I could absolutely relate and I was so proud of them!
Thank you so much for having me. I hope you raised a lot of money for Zion Lutheran Preschool! It really does amazing things to give young children the foundation for a bright future.