Kunerth keeps busy as Miss Teen Nobles CountyWORTHINGTON — Between a myriad of other extracurricular activities, Marissa Kunerth of Fulda is picking up a new hobby and joining the world of pageantry as Miss Teen Nobles County.
By: Alyson Buschena, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Between a myriad of other extracurricular activities, Marissa Kunerth of Fulda is picking up a new hobby and joining the world of pageantry as Miss Teen Nobles County.
Kunerth said she decided to apply for the Miss Nobles County title after seeing it advertised in the Daily Globe.
“I thought it would be a new, fresh opportunity with different experiences,” she said.
To receive the title of Miss Teen Nobles County, Kunerth submitted an application along with photos and also answered essay questions.
“I sent in my application in September, and the end of October, I heard back that I was Miss Teen Nobles County,” she said.
To be eligible for the title, Kunerth was required to choose a platform. She will once again work with teen distracted driving and National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), a non-profit organization.
“I saw I got to pick a platform, and I was recently working with NOYS and I like focusing on distracted driving,” Kunerth said. “So, that was easy for me.”
Kunerth has been active with NOYS through a Future Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) project and recently returned from a NOYS conference in Washington, D.C. She will soon travel to speak at another NOYS conference in Colorado.
“You go on from Miss Nobles County to compete in Minnesota,” Kunerth said.
“If you win Miss Minnesota, you get to speak at more events, which would be really fun. I just want to get my name and more knowledge about my platform out there.”
As Miss Teen Nobles County, Kunerth hopes to become a familiar face in the community as she helps local non-profits and organizations. More than 13 area businesses, as well as friends and family, have sponsored Kunerth and donated money to her cause, she said.
She told each of the sponsors that she would love to volunteer with any local events, and already has plans to help sell raffle tickets at the bowling alley and volunteer at the opening of the new clinic in Worthington. Kunerth also hopes to be involved in local parades and community festivals throughout the year.
In March, Kunerth will travel to St. Cloud to compete for the Miss Teen Minnesota title against more than 15 other young women from around the state.
“We have to go up a couple days early to learn a routine dance,” she said. “We have to learn how to walk in new shoes, but I think it will be fun.”
This will be Kunerth’s first pageant competition, and she is excited about the new experience.
“I’m looking forward to competing and meeting all the different girls and seeing what they have done in their community with their platform,” she said.
The Miss Teen competition is open to women ages 13 to 18. It seeks to showcase young women’s accomplishments and give contestants the opportunity to be role models in their community.
Each Miss Teen Minnesota contestant will compete in categories including interview (40 percent of total score), evening gown (20 percent), fitness wear (20 percent) and fun fashion wear, (20 percent).
Kunerth hasn’t chosen her outfits yet and is looking forward to going shopping for just the right look, especially for the evening wear.
Instead of a swimwear category, all of the competitors will wear the same fitness wear ensemble that will be provided for them.
Allison Stavrakis, pageant director, said that unlike other pageants, Miss Teen Minnesota focuses on community service and “each lady has a cause that they speak on.” The contestants’ platforms become the basis for their interview question, which is weighted the highest of the four categories.
“Our current reigning Miss Teen Minnesota’s (platform) is sports safety, because she injured herself cheerleading and can’t move her (right) arm now,” Stavrakis said. “Now she is available to go out and speak to high school students about the importance of telling someone if you’re hurt.”
To prepare for the competition, Kunerth is working with past title holder Ashtyn (Baerenwald) Silva, previously of Fulda, to learn how to present herself on stage.
As Miss Teen Nobles County, Kunerth hopes to spread the message about her campaign.
“I really want to get the word out about how dangerous distracted driving is,” she said. “I realized that once you put a title behind your name, people listen to you more.”
Kunerth has also been involved in meet-and-greets in Minneapolis and St. Paul with other Miss Teens from around the state.
Kunerth, a sophomore at Fulda High, is also involved in BPA, FCCLA, FFA, 4-H, marching, pep and symphonic band, choir, youth group, basketball, volleyball and golf.
No matter how she does at the state level, Kunerth is confident being Miss Teen Nobles County will assist her in achieving future goals.
“I think it will be a fun experience,” she said. “No matter how it ends, it will be a learning experience, and I can use it in many of my other extracurricular activities.”
Stavrakis agreed, stating that the skills learned during competition will help the contestants throughout their lives.
“For example, the pageant is a great opportunity to help girls with interview skills for a job in the future,” Stavrakis said. “They sit in front of a judge one-on-one and learn skills that they will use for jobs down the line.”
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.