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 Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.

(More History)