“Beautiful is inside you. It’s who you are… You are always sparkly.”
– Shelby Reschke, Miss RemarkAble 2019
The evening of October 19, ten beautiful women crossed the stage to show the La Crosse community what makes them remarkable. After spending the day being pampered by students at the Salon Professional Academy and preparing for their moment in the spotlight, excitement ran high among the contestants.
Aptiv, formerly known as Riverfront, created the Miss RemarkAble pageant in 2015. The pageant began as an effort to empower women and girls with disabilities in the La Crosse area. Since the original program five years ago, Miss RemarkAble has expanded to Janesville, WI and grown in popularity within the La Crosse community.
Susan Schmidt, the Grants and Project Manager at Aptiv, framed the pageant as a way for women and girls with disabilities to “gain experience and share their story beyond their disability.”
The Miss RemarkAble pageant emphasizes seeing ability rather than disability. It’s a platform for recognizing the unique abilities and personalities of each contestant.
The women attend educational and team building sessions to help them prepare for the stage. Specifically, the sessions are aimed at building the interpersonal skills required to answer the on-stage questions. The contestants also learn how to manage nerves and support one another. The sessions highlight the importance of working together and supporting each other.
Additionally, the women are empowered to create an individualized affirmation that builds their confidence. The organizers of the pageant hope that the skills the women learn for the pageant will translate into other areas of their life, helping the contestants better manage stressful scenarios in the future. For example, the skills taught during the educational sessions could translate into confidence during a job interview. Many of the contestants already have jobs and are active members of the community, but the pageant, its sessions and community activities following the pageant help the contestants further improve their interpersonal communication skills.
Before the pageant began, Lois Schultz, Miss RemarkAble 2018 had a message for the contestants and Miss RemarkAble 2019, “I want you to have fun, be proud of yourself and be happy!”
Throughout her reign as Miss RemarkAble, Lois attended events such as Steppin’ Out in Pink and Aptiv fundraisers. She also attended every Moon Tunes concert of the 2019 season to spread her platform of kindness and acceptance.
At the end of the pageant, each of the contestants was awarded a title to represent the strengths they demonstrated throughout their on-stage question, video and general presence at the pageant. The titles were awarded as follows:
- Miss Outgoing: Heather Hansen
- Miss Inspirational: Stacy Wurzel
- Miss Kindhearted: Jenna Lea
- Miss Ambitious: Tabitha Worth
- Miss Charming: Madison Hase
- Miss Adventurous: Alyson Hefner
- Miss Incredible: Tracy Kagel
- Miss Astonishing: Camille Degaz
- Miss Genuine: Sarah Vogelsberg
When it came time to award last title, Shelby Reschke was overjoyed upon realizing that she had earned the title of Miss RemarkAble. Shelby has been an active member of the La Crosse community and currently works for the La Crosse Loggers. She also volunteers at a nursing home and serves on the board for a children’s bible camp. Pageants run in Shelby’s family as she recently went to support her sister at the United States America Miss Pageant in Las Vegas. Now Shelby will serve as Miss RemarkAble 2019 by attending community events and spreading her message of inner beauty and inner sparkle.
All of the women participating in Miss RemarkAble showed how truly unique their personalities, talents and abilities are. The Miss RemarkAble Pageant makes women with disabilities visible.
Please continue to check this page to learn more about the Miss RemarkAble contestants and how they were impacted by the Miss RemarkAble pageant.