Moline women will show off talents in Miss Amazing Pageant

Posted Online: April 20, 2013, 8:56 pm
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By Elena Pena
Like many girls, Mary and Paula Dixon, of Moline, often wondered what it would be like to be crowned a princess.

Today, Mary, 28, and Paula, 27, will compete in the Miss Amazing Pageant in Edwardsville.

Both women have a nonverbal learning disorder that includes developmental issues such as not understanding perception and humor, difficulty with problem solving and a lack of social skills and coordination. The disorder also brings on panic and anxiety attacks.

"I wanted to meet new people and make friends," said Paula, who has a bachelor's degree in early childhood learning and works with children at the Quad-City Child Development Center. "We can do what anyone else can do, no matter what."

The Miss Amazing Pageant for young women ages 10 to 35, began in 2007 in Nebraska to help them build self-confidence, learn life skills and share experiences. There are five age groups and contestants compete in the areas of interview, introduction, evening wear and talent.

A winner is chosen from each division to represent the state for one year. They advance to the nationals where they compete with 25 other state finalists. Every pageant participant is considered a winner, or "princess," and receives a trophy and crown.

There is no cost to enter, but participants are asked to donate five cans of food for a charity organization. Boys/young men with disabilities are encouraged to participate by escorting the young ladies.

The Dixon sisters plan to sing a duet for the talent contest. They chose, "For Good," from the musical "Wicked."

"This song speaks to us," Mary said. "We are doing this whole thing because no matter what we face in life, your disability does not control you, and you can overcome anything."

Mary recently earned a veterinary technical assistant certificate from Black Hawk College and soon will begin a new job at the Scott County Humane Society.

The pageant falls on the same week that the women lost their father a year ago. Sharon, their mother, is a cancer survivor, and said the family has gone through so much and the pageant is a way to celebrate the family's successes and hardships.

"This is an opportunity for the girls to find their passion and be a part of a dream a typical girl would have," she said. "They are excited and happy to not worry about not measuring up and getting a chance at something they normally would not be able to do."

She said her daughters are just now taking leadership roles in their church because of their ability to gain self-confidence. "We are blessed," she said.

Syndi Sills, Illinois Miss Amazing Pageant state director, said the pageant is not about competition, but about learning and offering a growth experience.

"The most rewarding part about this pageant is seeing the big smiles at every age," she said. "The Miss Amazing Pageant allows individuals with disabilities to show their abilities. Everyday these young ladies face challenges.

"Here, everyone is equal. We are here to learn from each other and be confident and feel value in the community."


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.

(More History)