The 2013 Miss California’s Outstanding Teen pageant crowning took place this summer on June 28. Miss Clovis’ Outstanding Teen Mikaela Harris took home the crown.
“This was the first ever Miss Clovis’ Outstanding Teen pageant, which makes earning the title of Miss California’s Outstanding Teen as Miss Clovis’ Outstanding Teen, even more special,” Harris said. “I will do all that I can to make the most of every opportunity and will serve our community to the best of my ability.”
The Miss California Organization was founded back in 1924, with six winners from California crowned later as Miss America. The Miss California’s Outstanding Teen first began in 1999 as an associated junior competition. Young women ages 13 to 17 are eligible to compete.
Fresno has been host to the Miss California Organization for 21 years.
Harris, 16, is a junior at San Joaquin Memorial High School and said trying out for Miss Clovis’ Outstanding Teen was her first pageant.
“I have always been a fan of Miss America,” Harris said. “When I was in Hawaii, I went to see the Miss Hawaii pageant. It was so inspiring to see women with so much to offer being recognized, earning college scholarships, and being offered an incredible avenue to give back. I knew then I wanted to be a part of this and strive for the same opportunity.”
Harris also recently competed in Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2014 in Orlando, Fla. She competed against 51 other contestants: one from each state and from Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
For her talent at each pageant, she played a piano piece she wrote called “Seasons.”
“One of the things that I really enjoy is composing music and playing the piano, guitar and ukulele,” Harris said. “I know firsthand the effects of expressing yourself through music and know what it does for the mind, as well as physical body.”
That is why she chose music therapy as her platform, or her commitment to service the community
“I also play the piano at the Fairwinds Retirement Community, St. Agnes and Clovis Community Hospital,” Harris said. “I have seen the patients and the joy they get from the music. It actually serves as music therapy all the way around. I also hope to become a music therapist when I am older.”
Harris said that preparing for the pageants takes a lot of more work than what most people realize, from studying to fundraising.
“Besides just the group practices for the actual pageant, there were weekly mock interviews before a panel, 4:30 a.m. gym workouts, a lot of piano practices, studying current and past events, fundraising, program ad selling, platform service jobs, dress fittings and updating social media,” Harris said.
Harris also said that she has learned communication, organization and various life skills through her participation in Miss California’s Outstanding Teen such as meeting a cystic fibrosis survivor and being a speaker at the Heart 2 Heart Girls Conference.
“I am gaining experiences that I never would have been able to alone,” Harris said.
Harris said she hopes her title will inspire young adults in Fresno County. She said she is also honored to represent Clovis, which she said has been very supportive of her efforts.
“It has been so wonderful,” Harris said. “There have been parades, luncheons, newspaper articles and my favorite was a huge send-off dinner party complete with a three-tiered cake, a DJ and Clovis Councilman Jose Flores.”
Kati Enea, director of Miss California’s Outstanding Teen, is proud to have Harris represent their organization.
“Mikaela is a well-rounded, focused and wonderful teenager,” Enea said. “She fits all of the attributes we look for in a representative. She priorities her academics, while remaining well-rounded, passionate about her music and wants to make a difference in her community.”
Harris said she hopes to one day compete for the Miss California pageant after she attends college.
“I am very proud of our community and proud to be the State titleholder from Clovis because one of the things I love most about Clovis is the good, down to earth, hard-working people,” Harris said. “I am humbled to be recognized as a representation of our people and this type of character.”