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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Two UA students compete in pageants circuit

Amy Webb
Amy Webb/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Piper Stoeckel, a journalism senior, recently won the Tucson Valley pagent. Stoeckel is moving onto the Miss Arizona pagent.

When UA students Jennifer Sedler and Piper Stoeckel were competing against each another in dance competitions years ago, they never thought they would be running for Miss America or Miss Arizona years later.

“I wasn’t one of the ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ little girls,” said Sedler, a physiology sophomore who decided to participate in pageants about a year ago when she learned they could help her gain scholarship money, further her outreach to the community and advance her education. Sedler, who is currently Miss Arizona, will be competing in the Miss America pageant on Jan. 14.

The journey toward becoming a contestant for Miss America was a long one, Sedler said, because she first had to win a local title, Miss Phoenix, and then be crowned Miss Arizona. Winning these titles was not limited to being the best in the actual competition, Sedler said. She also needed to have the best essays, fact sheets and resumes in addition to filling out “mounds” of paperwork.

Sedler, who is already preparing for the competition on the Miss America pageant grounds, said she is “loving every single moment of it.”

“I already know this is going to be one of the most memorable and incredibly life-changing weeks of my life,” she said.

The Miss America organization has also helped her as a student, she said, by allowing her to develop business and interview skills that will benefit her future career practicing medicine. Sedler will be returning to the UA to finish her undergraduate degree in fall 2012 unless she wins Miss America, in which case she will return in January of 2013.

“I’m the fourth generation in my family to attend the UA, so I’ve got Wildcat in my blood,” she said.

Piper Stoeckel, a journalism senior, Miss Tucson Valley and contestant in Miss Arizona, has been competing against Sedler in dance competitions since Stoeckel was 10 years old. Stoeckel said that even though Sedler is younger, Sedler has mentored her and opened her eyes to the pageant world.

“I’ve never seen a girl work as hard as she (Sedler) has,” Stoeckel said. “I am star-struck by such a phenomenal individual.”

As a volunteer in an advocacy center against child abuse, Stoeckel said she realized participating in pageants could help her “be part of a change” in addition to enjoying the performance aspect.

“It just takes a strong force to get out and promote prevention,” she said. “I like the glitz and the glam, but below it, there is so much more that inspired me to do this.”

Stoeckel is working with local organizations like Casa de los Ninos, which offer services to promote child safety and the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse in order to expand her platform in Arizona and fight against child abuse.

Aside from working on her community outreach platform, Stoeckel said she will be practicing her lyrical-contemporary dance routine in preparation for the June pageant as well as updating her wardrobe, making appearances at local community organizations and hitting the gym.

“I’m definitely motivated,” she said. “Once I break down those nerves, I can show the judges who I really am.”

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