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Mikaela Bannon

ROGERS CITY — This young woman is poised, intelligent, caring and active.

Mikaela Bannon, 20, recently won the honor of Miss Michigan Volunteer. She was officially crowned on Sunday, February 13.

She explained that winning this title is much more than a beauty contest.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize a lot of the communication and preparation that goes into that,” Mikaela said. “We do interviews daily, we prepare for job interviews and we prepare for our future, and the huge thing about these organizations is that it’s about scholarship programs.”

She noted that in her pageant history, she won “well over $7,000” in scholarships.

“I am very blessed,” she said. “It helped me a lot in my college career.”

Beyond that, it helps build character and skills useful in his career, whatever field he plans to enter.

“I would say to anyone who sees it as a beauty pageant, it’s so much more than beauty,” she noted. “You have to have that confidence in yourself. You must know what you want to do. You need to get involved in your community.

And she is involved, as a volunteer with many different organizations.

“I do a lot of service work all over the UP and Upper Michigan area,” the Northern Michigan University student said. “I was able to hone my crochet skills. I have crocheted many scarves for the homeless. I’ve been working with my personal platform, Liberty’s Dream, for two years now. I have worked with Paws for a Cause for over eight years now. I was able to give private lessons to many children who have difficulties with literature and English subjects.

She has also worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

She explained the premise behind Liberty’s Dream, which is one of her main platforms.

“Liberty’s Dream was started in Rogers City, by Nancy Tulgestka,” Mikaela said.

Nancy is the mother of her lifelong friend Madison Tulgestka.

“We go to high-risk shelters and high-risk shelters all over America, and we basically rescue and take in these dogs, and give them a second chance at life,” Mikaela said. “In return, these dogs often help someone in a wonderful way.”

She said it’s an incredible achievement to be able to bring Liberty’s Dream to a national level of recognition, so that more people and dogs can be helped through the program.

“When you look at a dog, you can’t help but smile,” Mikaela said. “To be able to give these animals a second chance and really show the world that animals do so much for us, just like we do for them.”

Mikaela has a dog named Savvy, whom she adores.

“I can’t imagine my life without her,” she said of her beloved dog. “She has made my life 10 times better. My dog ​​has changed my life and I love her so much.

Savvy is a German Shorthaired Pointer. She wasn’t saved by Liberty’s Dream, but Mikaela said her own dog was an inspiration.

“She definitely inspired me to help other dogs that had experienced abuse or neglect,” Mikaela said.

She recently volunteered to do crowd control at the UP 200 dog sled race.

“The UP 200 is a huge fundraising race,” she noted. “It’s a pretty awesome event.”

Bannon is the daughter of Bill and Missy Bannon of Rogers City. Mikaela said her mother was one of her role models.

Mikaela will now move on to national competition this spring.

“Miss Volunteer America is a Tennessee-based national service scholarship program that aims to empower young women across the country with amazing scholarships and opportunities,” Missy Bannon explained in an email. .

Mikaela will compete nationally in early May at the Miss Volunteer America pageant in Jackson, Tennessee.

“Mikaela will participate in different facets of the competition: personal interview, fitness and wellness, talent, evening dress and, if she places in the top five, a final final question on stage,” her mother noted. “Mikaela will proudly represent the five points of the crown during her year of service. The five points mean SERVE – Bursary. Education. Responsibility. Volunteering. Empowerment.

Mikaela is currently studying Medical Aesthetic Sciences and Cosmetology at NMU.

“I wanted to be able to get into the aesthetic sciences and I wanted to be able to build myself a financial foundation so I could go back to college and pursue my dream in sports broadcasting,” she explained.

She’s been leading the pageant circuit since she was 11 or 12 years old.

“It evolved into years of pageantry, and years of experience and growth,” she said. “What I absolutely love about it, besides all the trust, scholarship money and relationships you build, honestly, I’ve made lifelong friends through the various organizations I’ve been in. participated.”

Her first title was Miss Sunrise Side’s Outstanding Teen 2015, followed by Miss Huron Shores’ Outstanding Teen, Miss West Michigan’s Outstanding Teen, Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen First Runner Up, Miss Shoreline, and now, Miss Michigan Volunteer.

“Once you get started, you fall in love with it and want to spend every waking moment in pageant country,” she concluded. “Anyone can hold a title. The only thing that matters is to be authentic yourself.

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