There is a popular old saying, “Mother knows best.” For 17-year-old Grace Franke, she may never doubt those words again.
Franke was crowned Miss Pettis County 2015 at the Smithton Town and Country Fair Thursday night.
“I entered the pageant because my mom thought it would be a great opportunity for me,” Franke said. “I was apprehensive at first and was really nervous.”
Franke said she knew the contest would help her overcome some of her shyness. For her talent competition, she chose public speaking.
“I can’t really sing,” Franke said. “So I thought I would do something different and I decided to try public speaking.”
“For this being her first pageant, I was just ecstatic with her performance and how far she came,” Anne Ramey, pageant director, said. “Public speaking is very hard, and Grace worked very hard on her talent, especially to enunciate and to not talk so quickly.
“I’m so very proud of her and can’t wait to work with her throughout the year,” Ramey added.
Franke wrote and gave a speech on what life is like living in a small town.
“I think the biggest complaint that people have about growing up in a small town is that everyone knows you and everyone knows your business,” Franke said. “You can bet that if you do something wrong, everyone, including your parents, is going to know all about it as soon as it happens.
“But I see it another way,” Franke said. “ I see a lot of people who are always looking out for me no matter what. People who are there to offer support and sing their praise, people who are there to give help, a shoulder to cry on, a hug when it’s most needed. “
Franke said as part of her platform for the upcoming year she plans to spend time with young children in their classrooms, talking to them about the importance of appreciating being from a small town.
“I will do whatever they want me to do during the upcoming year,” Franke said. “I just really want to do my best.”
Franke said the experience of winning had not really hit her yet, but she knew it would soon set in for her.
“I’m really nervous about the State Fair Pageant,” Franke said. “Both Kandas (Egner, Miss Pettis County 2014) and Anne said they would help me get ready for it.”
Franke will represent Pettis County in the 2015 Missouri State Fair Queen Contest on Aug. 13 and 14.
“I know I’m going to have to miss some soccer practice,” Franke said. “But I think Coach will understand.”
Franke is a starter on the varsity boys’ soccer team at Smithton High School. Smithton does not offer a girls’ soccer team.
“It’s hard work to play with the boys, but it makes me work harder to be the best I can be,” Franke said in her speech.
Franke will be a senior at Smithton this year and represents the school on the varsity soccer, track and cheerleading squads. She is also involved in the Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America and student council.
“I just want to thank my family and my friends for supporting me and always believing in me,” Franke said. “I would really like to thank Anne and the Fair Board too. They have been very kind.
“Hopefully, I will be able to represent the county well.”