Whitney Fisher is a talented 2016 Smithton graduate, who happens to be an incoming junior at Missouri Valley College in Marshall; Thursday evening she added the title of Miss Pettis County to her list of accomplishments.
Fisher was crowned in the gym were she played at elementary recesses and practiced for varsity sports competitions as a high school student during the 49th Annual Smithton Town and Country Fair.
“I really was very surprised but very happy when they announced my name at the competition,” Fisher said Friday morning. “I really thought it could be any one of us who won.
“Mariah (Turner) and Chelsea (Schroeder) [who were also competing for the title] and I really got along and we plan to keep in touch with one another in the future,” she added. “It really didn’t feel like it was competitive which made it nice.”
This is the first pageant Fisher has ever entered and said the main reason she wanted to do so was as a scholarship opportunity.
As the winner, Fisher will receive a $500 scholarship and $100 cash award.
“I’m going to Missouri Valley in the fall and this will definitely help with the cost of books and expenses at school.” Fisher said. “I have been accepted into their nursing program so there are lots of labs and other fees that I am responsible for.”
Fisher will attend college on a track scholarship but will also transfer in 53 college credits, classifying her as a junior.
According to the Dean of the School of Nursing at Missouri Valley College, Peggy Van Dyne, this is the first time in the college’s history it will admit a high school graduate as a junior into the school’s nursing program.
“I will be very busy with my classes and clinicals and track, but I really want to do as many things as I can to represent Pettis County throughout the upcoming year,” Fisher said. “It means a lot because I am representing my hometown and where I went to school.
“I know I am going to be in the Super Farmer Competition at the fair Saturday night with my boyfriend Chris (Marcum) and I’m hoping my brother Colby (Fisher) will be on a pig dressing team with us, “ she added. “I already know I will be at the Alzheimer’s Walk in September because that means a great deal to me.”
Fisher’s grandfather, Jim Fisher, was diagnosed with early onset dementia at 49 and died at 59.
Fisher said she felt his presence with her throughout the competition.
During the onstage question and answer portion of the completion, Fisher was asked, “If you could change or create a new law, what would it be?”
She immediately knew her response.
“I said I would enact a law making access for funds for early onset dementia patients more easily accessible,” “My grandpa couldn’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid because he was too young and insurance wouldn’t cover many of the costs with his treatment.
“He passed away when I was little,” Fisher added. “I think he was with me though last night, especially during my talent.”
Fisher played the ukulele and sang “”I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” during the talent competition.
“I was really nervous during my talent because I don’t sing in front of people,” Fisher said. “My grandpa was incredibly talented musically so I think we would have been proud.
“I got my first ukulele when I was 16 and I taught myself how to play from watching U-Tube videos,” she added. “I wanted to learn how to play it because it’s such a cute, happy instrument; you can’t have a sad song come out of it.”
Fisher plans to perform the same selection for her talent competition at the Missouri State Fair Queen Pageant which she qualified to enter with her crowning Thursday.
“I need to brush up on my agriculture for the State Fair contest,” Fisher said with a smile. “My boyfriend is a farmer and so he can help me with a lot of that.
“It was nice that my high school classmate, Grace, (Franke) who was Miss Pettis County 2015 was the one who crowned me,” Fisher added. “I’m just very grateful to have the opportunity to represent my hometown and Pettis County.”
The Smithton Town and Country Fair continues today at Smithton High School.