Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vote for Miss New York 2010

Vote for Miss New York 2010!

Click here to watch Miss New York's video and to vote for Claire!


Claire's Send Off!

I had the pleasure of attending Miss New York 2010 Claire Buffie's send off party for Miss America this past weekend. It was a wonderful gathering of friends and family of the Miss New York Organization. Many of the girls and volunteers I have not seen since the state pageant this past summer so it was also a wonderful reunion of sorts!

We all shared how proud we were of Claire and wished her the best of luck in her final month of preparation for Miss America. It was touching to see how grateful she was for the large turn out of supporters.

Claire also gave us all a sneak peak of her Miss America wardrobe (I cannot WAIT to see her in evening gown- it is going to be STUNNING!) as well as her talent selection. She also talked about how hard she has been working since she won her state title to promote her platform, "Straight for Equality." Claire really has done a remarkable job championing for gay rights and I am so proud of how all that she has done thus far representing the Miss New York Organization. She certainly is going to give everyone a run for their money in Vegas next month!

Best of luck Claire!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

turkey day!

Happy Thanksgiving, Rochester! I hope you all enjoy this holiday with your family and friends. I am thankful for each and every one of you and your unconditional support!

Thankful to be your Miss Greater Rochester 2010,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Women in Business at RIT

I had the honor of being the guest speaker at a recent Women in Business meeting at RIT. Women in Business is an amazing organization designed for women in all phases of their academic careers at Rochester Institute Technology who are interested in gaining tips furthering their business ambitions, networking, and building new friendships. Women in Business is a very active organization at RIT, participating in community service, educational activities, and sponsoring leadership events.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to be asked to speak at their meeting. I was asked to speak about what it means to be a successful woman and leader and how my experiences have led me to where I am today. Seeing as how I am only twenty-four (yes I recently had a birthday!) years old and am still figuring out what it means to me to be a successful woman I took the opportunity to speak about the experiences I have had through the Miss America Organization that have allowed me to achieve effective leadership skills and insight both of which have led me to success in all areas of my life.

The women were very receptive and asked candid questions. It was easy to see what a remarkable group of young ladies Women in Business is and I hope they were able to take a little of what I had to say and apply it to their own lives.

me with just a few of the members of Women in Business

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hello friends!

Boy, it's been a while!

The last time I updated I was on my way to compete for the title of Miss New York 2010. Pageant week was truly a remarkable week and I had a fantastic time making new friends, volunteering in the Albany community, and representing the Greater Rochester area to the best of my ability. I was thrilled to make top 10 and feel as though I really did my absolute best! Huge congratulations to Miss New York 2010 Claire Buffie. She has already done a fantastic time representing our state and is gearing up for the big show come January-Miss America!

The month or so leading up to Miss New York I had put a lot of the rest of my life on hold for a bit and had a lot of catching up to do following the pageant. Right before I went to pageant week I had been cast in my first professional production. Since I did not win Miss New York I was able to take my place in Summerstock NYC, an Equity production performing in two theatre houses in NYC whose mission was to "bring affordable theatre back to New York." Rehearsals started the day after Miss New York-literally! So I had no time to relax! I had an absolute blast and learned a ton! A month and a half later the production ended and I found myself still on the run, on call as I had made it to the final round of auditions in front of the creative team for Legally Blonde for the Elle cover, at a family wedding (I caught the bouquet!), and trying to pick up extra shifts at work to make up for all this time off! WHEW! The summer was an absolute whirl wind!

Anyway I'm back! I absolutely never took the crown off (so to speak) and was still active in staying in touch with the Rochester community obtaining new sponsors, speaking with the higher ups in arts education, and working to find new ways to help the Miss Greater Rochester Organization grow. Now that things have calmed down a bit I am thrilled to be able to be a more visible force once again, crown and sash in tow, making public appearances. And of course, updating my blog :)

Thank you, Rochester, for all of your support thus far. I cannot tell you how honored I am to wear the Greater Rochester name. I may not have won the title of Miss New York as I spoke in my last entry, but to me I think I won something even better-I won the chance to return home and be Miss Greater Rochester for the whole rest of the year!

Monday, June 21, 2010

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?"

It is 6:01am and I am leaving for my final state competition in Albany in exactly t-minus 59 mintues (but who's counting!?). I cannot believe how fast this day arrived!

Four months ago I was told that the Miss Greater Rochester Organization was coming back. Excluding Miss Greater Rochester I was eligible to compete for 10 local titles across our state. I was faced with a tough decision of competing for the other titles or putting all my eggs in one basket and going for the opportunity to represent my hometown competing in the last local of the season in my last year of eligibility, Miss Greater Rochester.

I prayed for a sign. I prayed hard. I talked about how I wished there was a big book where when you were faced with a tough decision you could just open up the book and all the answers were there telling you what to do. Wouldn't that be nice?

I came across a quote that said, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?" I knew immediately what my answer was. In my heart I wanted to go to Miss New York and represent my hometown of Rochester, NY. Nothing felt more right and nothing would compare. So I took a pretty big risk and was honored to find it pay off. I cannot put into words how tremendously proud I am to be Miss Greater Rochester.

This is my last trip to Miss New York. My fourth and final year competing in the Miss America Organization. I've learned over the years how fickle judging can be, how subjective it is, and how one can never really count on anything. And that's ok.

I feel like I've already won. When Miss Greater Rochester is called I am the girl who gets to step forward. I am so excited to represent this area, my home. What an amazing group of people Rochesterians are! So passionate, proud, intelligent, dedicated...ranked one of the top cities in the nation to raise a family! Teeming with culture, music, restaurants, sports, festivals. And I get to brag about it all week long in Albany!

I am going to pageant week this year with a whole new sense of calm. I have worked HARD. I know I am deserving. I know I am ready. I know I would work day in and day out to be the best Miss New York this state has ever seen. I am calm because I am trusting in that work. The hard stuff is done! This is the week where I get to celebrate the area I'm representing and trust that everything else is out of my hands. What's meant to be will be.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped me get here. I am so blessed to say the list is far too long to name but you know who you all are. I want more than anything to make you and to make Rochester proud.

"Give it your best shot and take what comes"-Dad

Friday, June 11, 2010

11th Hour

I would like to share with you and comment on an email I received from the New York State Council on the Arts as I believe it should be read by all New Yorkers:


We are down to the wire on budget negotiations.

We MUST get our legislators to speak out in support of arts funding and against the 40% cut in CONFERENCE COMMITTEE TODAY!!!!!!!

Get in touch with your democratic legislators directly or their chief of staff, in both the Assembly and Senate.


We must get a critical mass speaking out in conference committees TODAY. The Speaker and Majority Leader will respond to that pressure.

If we do not get a significant number of members speaking out, we will fall through the cracks. The smallest state agency is facing the biggest cut.

Call your electeds NOW. Speak with them directly or their chief of not leave a message with the receptionist.

(NYS ARTS Advocacy HQ is your directory for all legislative contacts)

We are really down to the wire and it is NOT looking good. You probably know that Paterson put his health care cuts ($775 million) into the weekly extender that was passed this week. He has threatened to put education cuts in next week's extender bill and then said he'd put it off a week to give the legislators time to come to final agreement on a budget. If there isn't progress on the budget, NYSCA cuts could also end up in the extender because it's part of the Education, Labor and Family Assistance bill. !!!!!!!!!!!

So you really have to kick this can hard NOW. We are all busy and crazed, but take a few minutes to do this NOW.

Update on action taken: We now have almost 19,000 emails to legislators, and the leadership in Albany. A letter was sent to all Senate and the Assembly members asking for a restoration of arts funding. It was signed by 21 statewide and regional service organizations and was delivered by courier to every legislator on TUESDAY, June 8 in the am. On Thursday June 10 a group pf advocates will troll the halls and meet with legislators.


Judith Kaufman Weiner
Executive Director"

Folks, times are TOUGH! Our state is standing on the brink of total and utter chaos with everything that is happening in Albany right now. In the midst of a state shutdown threat I am further disappointed to hear that nobody spoke up for the arts in the democratic Assembly conference committee yesterday!

I urge you to please call your members or their chief of staff and tell them that you heard nobody is advocating for the arts and so you want to remind them of the job and program losses they will face in their district should the 40% cut to NYSCA be approved.

Not sure who exactly you should call? Use this tool here to put in your zip code and find out!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Let your voice be heard!

As I posted previously Governor Paterson has proposed a 40% budget cut to the New York State Council on the Arts which is an amazing organization that makes grants and helps funds arts organizations around our state. This devastating budget cut inevitably means a severe cut, or even the demise, of your favorite art organization in your town. It's really very tragic.

So today I hit the pavement and walked around downtown Rochester handing out postcards I had printed from the NYSCA website urging people to simply sign, post mark, and mail the postcard to their appropriate legislator. It really is that simple for the voice of the people to be heard!

16,0000 emails have already made their way into our leaders' inboxes but the decision has yet to be reversed. We must keep up our fight and tell Albany that a 40% cut to the arts is not ok!

Here is a link to the postcards. Please feel free to join in the fight and pass out these cards at any performance, class, reading, work, or gathering you may go to. Let your voice be heard!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two weeks until Albany!

"Two weeks until the pageant. (Breath.) I was practicing my talent, (Breath.) finishing my costume, (Breath.) brushing up on current events, (Breath.) and running 18 miles a day on about 400 calories. (Breath.) I was ready." -Drop Dead Gorgeous

(sorry I just had to....also two weeks?! Boy, that came fast!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sad News for Rochester, Great for New York State

At 11am this Wednesday morning the wonderful mayor of Rochester will be announced as Andrew Cuomo's running mate for the 2010 Governor election. Mayor Robert Duffy has proven his effectiveness in our community previously as the Rochester Chief of Police and currently as mayor.

You may remember the letter I had written to Mayor Duffy right after I won Miss Greater Rochester regarding my support of his mayoral control of schools in Rochester and how I hoped he would include the performing arts as a strong part of his pending curriculum. Mayor Duffy responded right away to my letter, than you can read in a previous post, commending me on my recent crowning and my ability to speak my opinion and hopes for the Greater Rochester area.

Should Andrew Cuomo and Robert Duffy win the election we will certainly be sad to see him leave his mayor's office in Rochester but will be thrilled to know that our state will undoubtedly be put back in the right direction with his diligence, compassion, commitment, and strength as a leader.

To read more about this announcement click HERE

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miss America Organization News

Have you heard the news? Miss America has just signed a three year contract with ABC! That's right! We are moving back to network television for the 2011 pageant just in time to celebrate our 90th Anniversary.

I was so excited to hear this news and hope that with this contract on a major network television channel, so many more people will be able to tune in and see just how amazing the Miss America Organization is. In the video I have posted below chairman of the Miss America Organization, Sam Haskell sums it up perfectly. He says, "Miss America is about scholarship, Miss America is about community service, and Miss America is about talent. That alone distinguishes us and Miss America is a part of the tapestry of our country because of that."

I am so honored, grateful, and proud to be a part of the Miss America Organization and hope to be there myself in January on ABC :)


A Night of Dreams

I had the pleasure of attending the Big Brothers Big Sisters Asian Mentoring Committee gala. The evening was titled "A Night of Dreams: Evening Arts Showcase Fundraiser" and served not just as an opportunity to raise money for such an amazing cause as Big Brothers Big Sisters but as a chance for the young boys and girls of the Asian Mentoring Committee of BBBS to express their dreams, hopes for their futures, and their Asian heritage through art. Kids expressing themselves through art? You KNOW I was there with bells and whistles!

It was a fantastic event and I thoroughly enjoyed the kids' artwork. I couldn't believe that some of the art was done by children! It is certainly a very talented bunch of kids benefiting from the kindness of the volunteers serving as their mentors.

Here is just a sampling of the array of art at the showcase held at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA):

This piece of art shows a young girl as she views herself now in America and what her home was like in China

This is a poem I loved and was moved by, written by a ten year old girl who writes about her new life in America and how she is so grateful for the freedom she has living here.

In addition to the amazing and touching artwork, guests of honor Judge Michael A. Corriero and Qing Hong Wu spoke about their Big and Little relationship and how it has affected each of them respectively. Qing Hong Wu credits his relationship with his Big Judge Corriero as setting him on the right path and teaching him how to live a respectful life.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is truly a fantastic organization that allows volunteers in our community to reach out to young boys and girls who may not have any other responsible adults to turn to. This mentorship combined with the use of the arts as a means of self expression undoubtedly is saving the lives of many kids in our community and is teaching these children healthy and successful life skills that may not otherwise be afforded to them.

Bravo to a wonderful job done not just on this "Evening of Dreams" but every day with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Special thanks and congratulations to my friend, and one of the organizers of this event, Richard Fu!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Miss America vs Miss USA

Many people outside of the "pageant circle" do not realize that the Miss America Organization and Miss USA are two completely different entities. All I'm going to say is that I am VERY proud to be a part of the Miss America Organization and I'm going to let this video clear up any other confusion there might be between the two...

WATCH: Difference between Miss America Organization and Miss USA

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Visit to Quest Elementary School

Today I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Quest Elementary School in Hilton. What a wonderful school!

I was welcomed with open arms by Ms. Nancy Johnstone, who happens to be the most recently named Teacher of the Year in Hilton Schools and it was no wonder to see why! Her kindergarten classroom was teeming with colors, words (both English and Spanish!), shapes, drawings, pictures, caterpillars and an incubator soon to be home to baby chicks!

The young students were an absolute joy! I was so impressed with how smart, well behaved, and curious the kids were at only 5 years old! I was treated to a performance of "God Bless America" and the "Helicopter Song." I spoke with the kids about how much I love music and encouraged the kids to work hard in every subject of school.

Silly picture!

Look at those smiles!

When I asked the boys and girls if they had any questions the first question was asked by one little girl who raised her hand and asked, "Do you like snacks?" I laughed and thought about how hard I'm trying to get ready for the swimsuit competition and answered "Yes. I love snacks." And in case anyone is curious my favorite snack that I plan to enjoy post-swimsuit competition is definitely Crumbs Cupcakes. Particularly the m&m kind. Mmmm...

I digress!

I spent the rest of the afternoon helping the boys and girls with geometry, holding hands as we walked to PE class, and passing out snacks. Before I left I let a couple of the students try on my crown. As you can imagine the kids were thrilled! I think we may have a future Miss Greater Rochester or two in the bunch!

May is for Miracles

This month is the Children's Miracle Network "May is for Miracles" campaign. As you all know the Miss America National Platform is the Children's Miracle Network so I figured there was no better time than to kick my fundraising into high gear!

I rallied all weekend long for the Children's Miracle Network talking to the people of Rochester, friends, and families asking for just $1. My fundraising for this weekend culminated at the new Walmart Super Center in Victor. My total raised this weekend was a whopping $520! AMAZING! That brings me to an even $700 thus far. So close, yet so far, from my $1000 goal so keep those donations coming!

I set up camp right in front of the entrance :)

Bet you didn't know I was so artistic! (kidding...although I do think the sparkles added a special something hehe)

My two favorite girls, Sophie and Nellie!

One of the best parts about this fundraiser outside of Walmart was that people were not afraid to challenge me and ask me just what exactly the Children's Miracle Network and the Miss America Organization does. I was so proud to tell Walmart's patrons about the amazing partnership between the two organizations and that together miracles are created for the lives of 17 million children and their families each year.

Some of the people passing through Walmart's doors were already well aware of all that the Children's Miracle Network can do. One woman told me that the Golisano Children's Hospital, one of the 170 CMN Hospitals across the country, saved her grandson's life. It was that story, and the one I'm about to share below, that made me know my efforts were more than worth the while.

A Walmart employee came outside on his break and told me about a former Walmart employee, named Wally Straight, who lost one of his grandchildren just before the child's 5th birthday. Wally made the promise to raise $200,000 in memory of his grandson for the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong and would work tiring 8 hour shifts collection just $1 donations at the door. This past May a generous $4 donation put Wally just past the $200,000 mark.

Folks, just $1 can make a tremendous difference. Donate today!

Flower City!

I was SO excited to be a part of the Lilac Festival Parade this year!

Rochester, NY was originally known as the flOUR city based upon the numerous flour mills along the Genesee River in what is now known as downtown Rochester. This nickname has been transformed and renamed the flOWER city for the magnificent 10 day world renown celebration known as the Lilac Festival. The Lilac Festival kicks off summer in Rochester and expands even beyond the impressive 500 variety/1200 bushes of lilacs. No really, there are a TON of gorgeous lilacs. The second you step foot outside your car at Highland park you are overwhelmed with the beautiful smell of these flowers! Despite this phenomenal main attraction the festival is so much more! The Lilac Festival has free entertainment on the main stage of national recording artists, children's entertainment, arts and craft vendors, exhibitors, and so much more! The Lilac Festival is undeniable one of the greatest pride and joys of our city!

The Lilac Festival has a very special place in my heart. In 2004 I was a junior in high school just starting to look at colleges. I knew I had my heart set on the very prestigious-and very expensive!-Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. My parents made it clear that I needed scholarships for NYU to be a possibility. I remember finding this tiny little ad in the Democrat and Chronicle advertising a scholarship competition run by the Lilac Festival. I submitted the essays and transcripts and was thrilled to be called as a semifinalist for an interview. I went, met with the judges, answered all their questions, and was called later that evening to be told I was a finalist and needed to bring an evening gown with me that Saturday night. Evening gown? Hmmm...maybe it's a formal gala or banquet? Nope! Pageant! I showed up and was taught how to walk down the run way and turn all the right ways. The other girls all knew each other and had been competing since they were little. I remember at the time of the crowning I was so disappointed not to be called as a runner up, one of the Lilacettes, only to have my disappointment be transformed into pure shock when my name was called as the 2004 Lilac Festival Queen; the first Queen since 1987. That's correct, I entered and won my first pageant by accident. I can still hear my mom's shriek from the audience haha

My year as the 2004 Lilac Festival Queen was absolutely amazing. I worked as an ambassador for the Lilac Festival and for the Greater Rochester area (foreshadowing anyone?). One of the reporters I worked closely with was Melanie Barnas-Simmons, who at the time was the president of the Miss Greater Rochester Organization. Over the next couple years, well past my year as the Lilac Festival Queen, Melanie continuously tried to convince me to compete for the Miss Greater Rochester title. I finally decided to compete in 2007 and was surprised and honored to be named 1st RU. You know where this story is going by now....

As bold of a statement as this might be, there is no doubt that the Lilac Festival changed my life and helped me to grow into the confident, articulate, well rounded, and socially conscious woman I am today. I was SO happy to return to the festival again this year and ride in the parade as Miss Greater Rochester. It was a wonderful feeling walking around the festival and seeing my Lilac Festival Family, particularly Jill Morgan, Mr. & Mrs. Jim LeBeau, and "Uncle" Phil! These people are true representatives of what Rochester and the Lilac Festival is all about-genuinely good, kind, and hard working individuals all of whom I am tremendously grateful for their continued friendship and support!

Here are a couple pictures of the parade:

Your eyes aren't fooling you if you think that car looks tiny! I actually had the opportunity to ride in a Smart Car, a fuel efficient, green, and new "it" car of today! Special thanks to the Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo (one of the exhibitors at the Lilac Festival) for lending me this car and driver Wes for the parade!

Have you stopped by the festival yet? There's still time! The Lilac Festival 2010 runs until Sunday May 23rd! Stop by Highland Park today!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Donate just $1 and help make a difference!

The Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that helps to raise money for medical care, research, and education for needy sick children and their families. There are 170 different CMN Hospitals in the country and Rochester is fortunate enough to be home to one at the Rochester Golisano Children's Hospital. The Children's Miracle Network is proud to say they touch the lives of over 17 million kids each year!

You can help do your part in aiding such a fantastic organization. My personal goal as Miss Greater Rochester 2010 is to raise $1000. Quite a lofty goal I realize and I still have a long way to go! Help me get there and donate today-even just $1 will make a difference!



Thursday, May 6, 2010

It hurts so good!

My abs legs hurt....I think even my eyelashes hurt. My everything hurts!

I had my first training session with my personal trainer, Damon at NYSC, and at the start of the session I told Damon I wanted to be worked so hard that it would be difficult to get out of bed the next morning. Well mission accomplished! It's that good kind of hurt though where you know that you're working your hardest and that there will definitely be positive results.

Damon was awesome. I'm so excited to be training with him at NYSC because he is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about physical fitness. He worked me hard and encouraged me to not give up. One of the things he said that really motivated me when I was about to fall out of an extremely long plank was "You can't just quit when you're on stage in swimsuit-you can't just walk off! So are you going to quit now!?" Talk about motivation!

I have no doubt he's going to have me in fabulous swimsuit shape in no time!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Letter from Mayor Duffy

Mayor Robert Duffy responded to my letter regarding mayoral control and how I hope the performing arts will play a large role in his developing curriculum plan. I am so excited to share it all with you!

April 27, 2010

Dear Katie,

Thank you for your letter of April 23, 2010. Please accept my congratulations for being crowned as Miss Greater Rochester 2010.

Thank you as well for your words of support and encouragement regarding the mayoral Control initiative. I am glad to learn that we share the same goals.

I in no way wish to diminish the central message of your letter (i.e., supporting the arts in education), but I must share my observation that, in addition to whatever arts instruction and education you were provided, someone, somewhere along the line did excellent instructional work guiding you in English Language Arts, composition, persuasive argument, and rational thought. Yours is one of the better written letters that I have read in some time.

To the importance of arts in education, I am firmly in support of a strong arts curriculum. The Rochester City School District's School of the Arts is one of the best secondary schools in the District, and I think it no coincidence that its dual focus on academics and the arts is a major contributing factor. Students there attend school more frequently, graduate at a higher rate, and advance to post-secondary education or other desired pursuits more often than is the case at most other City high schools. It may not be appropriate to replicate the SOTA experience in all schools, but it provides us with valuable lessons.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Robert J. Duffy

Well! I am just BEAMING!

Rochester, we are so fortunate to have such a responsive, intelligent, kindhearted, and art supporting mayor! I am thrilled with Mayor Duffy's response and his commitment to the arts and look forward to continue to push for the arts in other city and suburb classrooms and communities!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cutting the arts is not the solution to any budget crisis

I am so disappointed in Governor Patterson's revised Executive Budget Proposal for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Released yesterday, the new plan has proposed to cut the New York State Council of the Art's funding from $41.6 million to a dismal $25.2 million. The NYSCA is dedicated to preserving and expanding the arts in our community; they have proven time and time again to be vital to the survival of both large and small arts organizations. By cutting funding nearly in half to NYSCA one can only imagine how much our local arts organizations will inevitably suffer. Not to mention how much our economy will suffer!

By cutting a huge source of funding to the arts not only is Governor Patterson cutting down on our children's education, their chance to reach their greatest potential, and the opportunity to realize a passion, but he is also reducing jobs and sources of income in our communities. While the arts have indisputably suffered their fair share of financial blows they are still a strong economic engine and have given our local cities and our state as a whole an effervescent identity. I've said it before and I'll say it again-cutting the arts should never be an acceptable solution to any budget crisis.

It is time to voice your disapproval and work to ensure that your favorite arts organizations and arts organizations across our state will be saved through appropriate funding to the NYSCA. I urge you to contact your State Assembly Members and Senators now to advocate against this cut. Use this tool to find the appropriate contact.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rush Henrietta Rotary

Oh, Rochester weather you never cease to amaze me! One month ago it was unseasonably warm and I was wearing a tshirt and shorts. Today I woke up to snow. Yes SNOW in the end of April!!!!

I made my way on this lovely Winter-er Spring?-morning to the Rush Henrietta Rotary. I walked in to a welcomed and warm reception with plenty of breakfast goodies. I was honored to lead the start of the meeting by singing the national anthem. Did I mention the meeting began at 7am? I think it's safe to say that was the earliest I've ever sung the Star Spangled Banner! :)

I thanked the Rush Henrietta Rotary for their generous support to the Miss Monroe County Fair Pageant and Miss Greater Rochester Organization. I talked about what exactly the Miss America Organization does and how it is a fantastic organization to support. I explained my platform, "Inspiring Young Minds Through the Performing Arts," and told the Rotary members about the importance the performing arts plays in the shaping of young minds. The Rotary is such a generous, giving, and socially conscious organization and I hope they agreed with and will remember my message of the importance of the performing arts when looking for new organizations to support!

Thank you so much to the President, John, and the rest of the Rush Henrietta Rotary for allowing me to come and spend time with you today! It was a pleasure meeting you all and I hope to work with you again in the near future!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vote for the Rochester Red Cross!

Erie Insurance is celebrating its 85th year in business as well as its 10th year partnering with the American Red Cross, working to serve those in need. To celebrate both anniversaries Erie Insurance is generously donating $2,500 to one of the four partnering locations. The Rochester Red Cross does so much for our community and I know they would put the money to very good use!

Click HERE to vote for the Rochester Red Cross!

Start your voting! And send the link to all your friends!

Rochester Athletic Club Fitness Sponsor!

As Miss Greater Rochester I am so lucky to have the support of the community behind me and am enjoying the many sponsors that have been afforded to me! I recently spent time with Jeff Harrison, the General Manager of the Rochester Athletic Club Brighton/Henrietta Location . Jeff introduced me to some of the knowledgeable staff members and showed me around the fantastic gym. I am SO excited to work out at the RAC and know that they will play a huge role in my efforts to kick my work outs into high gear for the swimsuit competition at Miss NY!

Thank you so much to Jeff and to the RAC for my gym membership!

Our Lady of Mercy Show Choir

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to the young women of the Our Lady of Mercy High School Show Choir. Knowing my platform, "Inspiring Young Minds Through the Performing Arts," my voice teacher, Elana Gizzi-Schmidt, asked me to come and speak to her students about my efforts as Miss Greater Rochester, my experiences as a musical theatre major at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and tips/suggestions I have for someone interested in pursuing the arts. Needless to say, I was more than happy to meet the girls and share my journey in the performing arts world.

I really enjoyed meeting the girls and was happy to talk with a couple of them after to answer some of their questions. And I was thrilled to enjoy the performance of some of their favorite numbers! What a talented bunch!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CMN Fundraiser Postponed Due to Rain!

I had a fantastic fundraiser planned for today in an effort to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate and I was forced to postpone the event due to cold and rain. It has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 16th so stay tuned for more details to come as the rescheduled date approaches!

Miss New York Workshop 2010

Workshop! Hooray!

The Miss New York State workshop was this weekend and boy was it a busy day!

The day started with turning in paperwork (which always makes me more drafts! What's done is done! ahh!) and meeting the other contestants. This is my third year at Miss New York and I was thrilled to meet the many new faces.

We jumped right into activities for the day, sharing our talents and receiving constructive criticism. I performed my talent, a vocal of "Astonishing" from the musical "Little Women" with a new cut. As soon as I began performing I instantly knew the new cut was not going to work and have decided to go back to an old cut I was previously rehearsing. That's what is great about workshop-you have the opportunity to work out the kinks in a sense in a safe and supportive environment.

And while I am on the topic of talent at Miss New York may I just say that the 2010 class is such a talented bunch! WOW!

After our talent presentations the Miss contestants enjoyed a fantastic lunch. Thank you so much to the Miss New York board for putting together such a lovely meal!

After lunch we returned to work! Paul Brown, the Miss New York Director of Operations, had a very special announcement to make. He told the Miss New York community that there was a new executive director who was unanimously elected to serve over the Miss New York Organization. I am thrilled to extend a huge congratulations to Kenny Mack our new Executive Director! I have worked with Kenny the past two years at Miss New York and have enjoyed every minute of it. Kenny has worked so hard for this organization and is a true professional with a fun loving, friendly, and kind hearted spirit. I have no doubt that Kenny, in conjunction with the rest of the fantastic Miss New York Board of Directors, will do an absolutely outstanding job!

Paul and Kenny continued to fill in the contestants and directors on the busy schedule for pageant week. I am SO excited for pageant week! The Miss contestants have a ton of appearances and plenty of rehearsals to look forward to!

After we finished discussing pageant week the Miss contestants departed for some preparation on the art of Interview. We had the chance to watch Miss Georgia 2008 and 1st Runner Up at Miss America 2009, Chasity Hardman's Miss America interview. What an articulate and well rounded young woman! It was easy to see why she has been so successful. Miss New York 2009, Alyse Zwick, gave us her own opinions and pointers in interview preparation as well. It was a very informative session!

We returned to the theatre to meet with Kent Parhman who is the mastermind behind all things performance at the Miss New York pageant. Kent began teaching us the choreography for the opening number and giving suggestions on how to improve our walks and turns. I have enjoyed working with Kent the past two years at Miss New York immensely; his candid comments, constructive criticisms, and positive attitude have allowed the contestants to be shown in the best light possible each year. Our organization is so lucky to have him a part of the pageant! I am truly looking forward to working with Kent again this June!

After rehearsal we changed into our swimsuits to work on our fitness preparation and discuss healthy eating and active lifestyle habits. Alyse, who was a preliminary swimsuit winner at Miss New York 2009 and Miss America 2010, gave us some fantastic pointers.

The day was coming to an end and it was time to draw our contestant numbers! I am contestant #10 (out of 20) and will be the last contestant to perform talent before intermission at prelims. Hopefully I will be able to deliver a strong closing to Act 1!

My Executive Director, Calista, and my sister Queen, Miss Genesee Valley Chelsea Prophet, and I all got in the car for the drive home to Rochester. We chatted and discussed the day's events and remarked at how tired (and hungry!) we all were.

Needless to say, it was a very busy and exciting day! I really enjoyed meeting all the contestants and am looking forward to getting to know each of the girls better during pageant week in June.

And I am SO excited for the Miss New York Organization because I think it is safe to say there are 20 remarkably talented, intelligent, and beautiful young girls all vying for the Miss New York 2010 crown-the judges certainly will have a tough choice on their hands!

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Fitness Sponsor!


Damon from NYSC 76th and 1st Location has so graciously agreed to act as my personal trainer leading up to the Miss New York Pageant this June! He and his staff at the NYSC are so professional and knowledgeable....I know they will whip me into shape in no time!

I have my first training session with him next week so much more on my fitness efforts and progress to come!

In the mean time check out Damon's fitness team and the NYSC 76th and 1st Location and be sure to say Miss Greater Rochester sent you!

Letter to Mayor

My platform is "Inspiring Young Minds Through the Performing Arts." With today's economy the arts are almost always the first thing schools turn to in order to solve a budget crisis. But what is really sad is that by cutting out the arts you are cutting out a child's chance to reach his or her God given potential. As Miss Greater Rochester it is my mission to raise awareness of the importance the performing arts play in the young lives of children and to serve as an advocate for the performing arts organizations that are already in place.

It is no secret that the Rochester City Schools are not doing as well as they should be. Graduation rates are at an all time low and standardized test scores continue to plummet. The status quo is not working.

Mayor Robert Duffy is seeking to do in Rochester what other cities have done across the country. In fact, twelve other major cities have undergone the mayoral control of schools removing the typical governing school board. And statistics have shown that this transformation of power has proven to be very positive for the school districts. I am in favor of the mayoral control of schools in our city if for no other reason simply because what we have now is clearly not working and something needs to be done as our Rochester City School District is in crisis.

With mayoral control of schools in Rochester pending I have written a letter to Mayor Robert Duffy stating my support and asking for the opportunity to speak with him about the importance of the performing arts in schools. I figure why not just go straight to the top, the potential man in charge, and lobby for the arts.

Here is my letter:

Mayor Robert Duffy

City Hall, Room 307A
30 Church St.
Rochester NY 14614

April 23, 2010

Dear Mayor Duffy,

I was recently crowned Miss Greater Rochester 2010 and am so honored to be a representative and ambassador for our wonderful city. As Miss Greater Rochester I am working to be an advocate for the Miss America National Platform, the Children’s Miracle Network, as well as for my own personal platform, “Inspiring Young Minds Through the Performing Arts.” My goal as Miss Greater Rochester is to help ensure that every child in our city has the chance of a well rounded education and that includes the performing arts.

I am in favor of the mayoral control of schools in the Rochester City School District. I think it would be a fantastic way to provide accountability and stability to a current system that clearly is no longer working. It is my belief that the mayoral control of schools would put our city’s school district back on the right track, raise standardized test scores, and raise graduation rates. Consequently downtown would surely begin to flourish and slowly return back to all that we know it can be.

With mayoral control of schools as a real possibility, and a positive one at that, I would like to speak with you about the role the performing arts should play in schools. Many people view the arts as a disposable luxury; it is a common misconception that the arts are merely extracurricular. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001includes the arts as a core academic subject and countless studies have shown there is in fact a direct correlation between the arts and other core academic subjects as well as a child’s development. The lack of the arts in a curriculum is just as detrimental to a child’s education as that of math or science. In short, a child involved in the arts will perform better in school, develop self confidence, learn interpersonal skills, and find a sense of creativity, all likely resulting in higher standardized test scores and graduation rates. You and I have the same goal: to see our city’s students achieve greatness. It is my mission as Miss Greater Rochester to raise awareness of the importance of the performing arts and to work so that every child has the chance to reach his or her God given potential.

Should you have the time, I would love to speak with you further about the role the performing arts should play in schools. I ask that you take a deep consideration of the arts when forming a more detailed plan and curriculum for the Rochester City School District. The arts have played a large role in shaping the young woman I am today and I am tremendously grateful for all that has been afforded to me. I only hope that someday every child is given that chance to explore the performing arts and all it has to offer.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Katie Martin

Miss Greater Rochester 2010


I will be sure to let you all know should I receive a response and I encourage you all to write to Mayor Duffy and to state your concern in our children's education. Make sure to voice your support for the performing arts!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Today, April 22nd, 2010 is the 40th year we are celebrating Earth Day and raising awareness of the need to be more environmentally conscious. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970 with the hopes of inspiring a true appreciation of the Earth's environment.

Forty years later the need to be more "Green" is greater than ever before. Some cite the climate change as one of the greatest challenges of our time. I view it certainly as one of the scariest! However, it calls for not only our nation, but for the entire world, to come together like never before and work to build a clean energy economy to safeguard our planet's future.

As Miss Greater Rochester I plan on leading by example and speaking out to raise awareness about the need to be more Green. What do I do as an individual to add to this cause? It's simple! And these are all things that you can do too and inspire others to do as well!

-Set up a Recycling Center for your home. Commit to recycling all paper, cans, bottles, etc.
-Take your recycling a step further and recycle cell phone batteries, computers, and other electronics
-Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying disposable water bottles for each use
-Use environmentally friendly cleaning products-Just read the label!
-Pay bills online instead of receiving paper bills in the mail
-Shop at the Farmer's Market and buy local and organic food (and we are so fortunate to have an amazing Famer's Market in downtown Rochester!)
-Use public transportation! Or carpool! Or walk/ride your bike-save the planet and get some exercise? Yes, please!
-Wash clothes in cold water whenever you can. A surprising 85% of energy goes to just heating the water
-Shop with a reusable bag rather than using plastic bags
-Turn lights off when you're not using them
-Take shorter showers
-Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees highter in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs
-Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out
-Talk about it! Talk about the danger our earth is in and how important it is that everyone does their part in becoming more green. Raise awareness! These are all very small efforts but when combined they can make a huge impact

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rain rain go away!

Good news: I have a FANTASTIC fundraiser planned for this coming Sunday April 25th for the Children's Miracle Network! Hooray!

Bad news:the current forecast in Rochester is rain! Since the fundraiser is taking place outside I'd be forced to postpone the fundraiser till a later date.

Let's all start praying and keeping our fingers crossed for sun sun sun!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Here I go and there's no turning back...."

I am so excited and so honored to be Miss Greater Rochester 2010! The competition this past Sunday, April 11th at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY was fierce. Each of the contestants did a fantastic job articulating their passions, goals, and opinions. It was an absolutely remarkable group of girls and I am so proud to be representing them and the Greater Rochester area for the 2010-2011 year and at the Miss New York pageant this June!

This is a special year for me in the Miss America Organization as it is my last and final year before I age out (am I really that old?!). I first started competing in the system back when I was a sophomore in college. My first year I did not win a title but was 1st Runner up at Miss Greater Rochester, and 2nd Runner up at both Miss Manhattan and Miss Greater NYC pageants. My journey continued the following two years as I proudly held the titles of Miss Greater Rochester 2008 and Miss Hudson Valley 2009 and was honored to find myself in the Top 5 in 2008, a preliminary talent winner in 2008 and in the Top 10 in 2009. I have grown immensely in this organization and have learned a great deal about myself through all the experiences MAO has afforded me.

In this last and final year I knew that if I was going to compete I wanted to do it right. I believe I was actually eligible to compete for 10 titles prior to Miss Greater Rochester but did not compete for any of them. In my heart I only wanted to wear the Miss Greater Rochester crown and that meant putting all my eggs in one basket and taking a risk on only competing in the very last local of the pageant season. Not going to lie, that was pretty scary! But I knew that Rochester is the city that I love. Rochester is the city I call my home. And Rochester is the city that I want to bring that state crown home to. It was more important to me to represent my hometown and the city I care so much about than to just compete for every local I could until I won a ticket to the Miss New York pageant. So I took the risk. And boy, am I glad I did!

Standing on the Miss Greater Rochester stage, with my entire family and friends in the audience and hearing my name called was such a proud moment. I actually teared up! I'm not sure what set it off exactly-either hugging my former and now once again current ED Calista or looking down and seeing Miss Greater Rochester on my sash-regardless it's safe to say I was extremely happy!

(Thank you to Miss Fingerlakes 2010, Amy Valenti, for the video!)
Crowning Video
My mom has watched that video probably 10 times at this point and still cries every time ha!

Pictures from the pageant:
My sister queen (and MNY roomie!) Miss Genesee Valley, Chelsea Prophet

The Top 5-3rd RU Charlotte Booth, 1st RU Jennifer Starkey, Miss Genesee Valley
Chelsea Prophet, Miss Greater Rochester Katie Martin, 2nd RU Lorna Rose
My family-Dad, me, Mom, and my little sister Maura

Three of my best friends came all the way from NYC for the pageant....and a garbage plate ;)

I can't wait to get started! I have a lot of fantastic things in mind for fundraisers for the Children's Miracle Network and for the Miss Greater Rochester Organization-some of these are already in the works as well as some pending appearances so keep checking back for updates! This is sure to be an outstanding year and I am so excited to see how it all unfolds!

Thank you all for your tremendous support and love,
Katie Martin
Miss Greater Rochester 2010