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