Miss Teen Texas International Gracie Hunt Gives a Shout-out to Her Dad

Gracie June blogSummer is here! I cannot believe that school is out. Summer is my favorite time of year. I love the warm days, the endless adventures, and the many opportunities to love and serve others. I had an incredible time at the Texas Special Olympics a few weeks ago. The athletes have such amazing heart, dedication, and passion. They never cease to amaze me with what they achieve, and always make me want to push myself one step further than I thought I could take. It is by taking those steps of uncertainty that we grow. It is in reaching beyond the confines of your comfort zone that you achieve success. As I wake up each day, I realize more and more the truth in that life is not about achieving an end dream, but about relishing in each and every chance to love fully–to fully embrace the beautiful moment between two eternities that we have been given to make an impact on this earth.

Among the many blessings that I am so thankful for is my father. He instilled the values of integrity, hard work, and compassion in me from the time I was a child. Additionally, he kindled my love for the game of soccer. Both in coaching and caring for me, he has shown me what it means to believe in yourself and pursue your dreams, no matter what others tell you. In this month of celebrating dads, don’t forget to thank your father, or someone who has been like a father to you, for believing in you. I know that without my dad, I would certainly not be the person that I am today. My dad now is adapting to an additional role of “the pageant father,” and I think that he rather enjoys seeing me in my crown, sash, and heels just as much as he loves my turquoise soccer cleats and braided pony tail.

I hope that this summer brings much love and joy, as well as many opportunities to go out into your own community and make a difference! If you would like to contact me, please email me at missteentxintl2016@gmail or follow my journey on social media: Facebook: Miss Teen Texas International and Instagram: missteentxintl

Gracie Hunt

Miss Teen Texas International 2016

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Texas International Names 2016 Queens

20160410_5975.jpg 2016 Texas Queens.jpg sm

2016 Texas International queens were named April 10th at the Granville Arts Center.  Gracie Hunt (left) was crowned Miss Teen Texas International, Taylor Ashworth (center) was crowned Miss Texas International, and Kori Zwaagstra (right) was crowned Mrs. Texas International.  All three ladies will represent Texas at the International Pageant in Jacksonville, Floria, in July.

Kori Zwaagstra Crowned Mrs. Texas International 2016, Taylor Ashworth Crowned Miss Texas International 2016, and Gracie Hunt Crowned Miss Teen Texas International 2016

2016 queens will represent the Lone Star State at the International Pageant in July

After a weekend of sparkles and speeches about service, Texas International has named its 2016 queens. Kori Zwaagstra, a mother of two from the Lubbock area, was crowned Mrs. Texas International.  Taylor Ashworth, a student at the University of North Texas, was crowned Miss Texas International, and Gracie Hunt, a student at Ursuline Academy, was crowned Miss Teen Texas International.  All three ladies won their respective divisions during the Texas International Pageant, held April 10th at the Granville Arts Center in Dallas.

Zwaagstra competed among accomplished married women from all over the state of Texas to win her title.  Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, and evening gown. The Mrs. Texas International system is the premier pageant competition for married women in Texas and emphasizes a woman’s ability to serve and lead her community, as well as inspire other women. Zwaagstra is a dedicated wife and mother whose family includes her husband, Jake; and two boys, Zayne, 7, and Gage, 4.  She is a health and fitness coach.

As Mrs. Texas International, Zwaagstra will promote her platform, “Beyond the Baby Blues,” which raises awareness for the most common complication of childbirth, postpartum depression. Zwaagstra’s goal is to bring visibility to perinatal mood disorders among women, their families and also the medical community. Zwaagstra uses her personal story about her struggle with postpartum depression to break the stigma associated with this disorder that one in seven women will experience. She chairs the Climb Out of Darkness event to educate and provide access to outreach resources for women struggling with postpartum depression.

Zwaagstra will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with women from across the U.S. and countries around the world for the title of Mrs. International July 22-23rd in Jacksonville, Fla

Taylor Ashworth competed among accomplished young women from all over the state of Texas to win her title.  Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, fun fashion and evening gown.

As Miss Texas International, Ashworth will promote her platform, “The Power of Pink,” to stress the importance of early detection through self-exams and regular mammograms. After seeing several family members successfully battle cancer, and others lose their battles, Ashworth is committed to improving awareness for all women.  She plans to travel the state talking to women about the positive impact of early detection and raise funds for breast cancer research and awareness.

Ashworth is in her final year of study at the University of North Texas, where she majors in Sports Management, a field in which she plans to pursue a career.  She serves as the photography chair for Susan G. Komen of North Texas, as a “You’re the Cure” advocate for the American Heart Association of Dallas, and a marketing assistant for Habitat for Humanity of Denton County. Ashworth has received the George R. Eastman Young Leaders Award from the University of Rochester.

Ashworth will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with women from across the U.S. and countries around the world for the title of Miss International July 29-30th in Jacksonville, Fla.

Gracie Hunt competed among accomplished teenagers from all over the state of Texas to win her title.  Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, fun fashion and evening gown.

As Miss Teen Texas International, Hunt will continue working with her platform, “Breaking Barriers Thru Sports” to help level the playing field for those with intellectual or financial disadvantages by inspiring participation and inclusion in sports.  Hunt serves as a partner player and halftime advocate for the FC Dallas Special Olympics Team, an ambassador for the Special Olympics and a volunteer leader for Rays of Light.  Her goal is to raise awareness for the importance of respect and inclusion, and she plans to travel the state during her reign, bringing visibility to causes that accomplish these goals.

Hunt is a junior at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, where she plays on the varsity soccer team. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Support Our Troops and Special Olympics. In addition to volunteering and sports, Hunt enjoys playing guitar and hiking with her family. She is the daughter of Clark and Tavia Hunt

Hunt will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with teenagers from across the U.S. and countries around the world for the title of Miss Teen International July 28-30th in Jacksonville, Fla.

The International System was established more than 20 years ago to adhere to a higher standard than other systems.  Texas International seeks more than a pretty face: winners have beauty and depth, and are committed to their communities. Like all pageants in the International System, contestants compete in fitness wear rather than swimsuit. The emphasis is on healthy lifestyle choices in accordance with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, with which the pageant system holds a national alliance.

For more information on the Mrs. Texas International pageant system, please visit www.mrstexasinternational.com, www.misstexasinternational.com, or www.missteentexasinternational.com.

To schedule a speaking engagement or appearance from any Texas International titleholder, please contact Rachel Hedstrom at texasinternationalpageant@gmail.com.

Miss Teen Texas International Visits with Girl Scouts

Savannah Sept 1a

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit with the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains for the grand opening of their new facility in Southlake recently. It is such a warm and welcoming place!  During our time together we learned how to tie different knots, participated in arts and crafts (we made some REALLY cool spin tops!), enjoyed some fun experiments, and the girls were able to use their “Cookie Bucks” at the Girl Scout store.

From Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes, to Seniors and Ambassadors, these young girls are doing some awesome things! They have so many wonderful events and camps where these girls can develop their leadership skills, character, and help build their confidence.

Just as service to God and our community is a very important part of the International Pageant System, the Girl Scouts also have this same principle.

The Girl Scout Promise
“On my honor, I will try:
To serve God,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

I really enjoyed meeting all of the volunteers, former Girl Scouts, and all the young ladies who are going to shape our future by making a difference in our world!

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

Savannah Sept 1b Savannah Sept 2 Savannah Sept 4

Miss International Elise Banks Visits the Alzheimer’s Association

Elise Alzheimers 1

Elise Alzheimers 2

I recently made at trip to the Alzheimer’s Association offices. Going into this appearance, I had mixed emotions as the subject of Alzheimer’s is not always easy for me to talk about since my Grandmother passed away from the dreadful disease when I was only 9 years old. However, knowing that I can have even a small impact on the research and awareness that is being done so that hopefully there will be a day where no one will have to go through the devastating times my family had to go through during the last few years of my Granny’s life.

While visiting the office, I was able to find out more about what services they provide for the community. The people who will benefit the best are those who are in the early stages of the disease. Support groups are provided for these individuals and their families/caretakers. They also provide different activities and events which allow opportunities for these individuals to work to keep the memories that they have left.

Being able to get involved with this organization has been such a blessing. Back in April of this year, I went to Austin to talk to our state representatives about the importance of the passing of the bill UAGPPJA (Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act). While at the offices, I found out that more of our elected officials are signing on to this bill which will be a huge step forward for the lives of families having to transport their loved one from state to state. I also can’t wait to join the organization in a few of their walks this year as this is always a huge fundraiser for the organization to be able to continue to fund the resources they provide and to continue the research that is being done!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Miss Teen Texas International Helps Pets Find Homes through ‘Clear the Shelter’ Day

I loved rolling up my sleeves to volunteer with animals who need us most.

I loved rolling up my sleeves to volunteer with animals who need us most.

“Clear The Shelter” was a HUGE success this past Saturday!!! It was SO exciting to hear that some shelters were completely emptied!  In the North Texas area, eleven shelters actually had to close their doors and turn people away because there were NO MORE SHELTER ANIMALS TO BE ADOPTED! Isn’t that just amazing?  At the HSNT Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter in Benbrook where my Mom and I volunteered, almost all the dogs and cats were adopted. We even had a few small friends (rabbits and hamsters) that also found their “fur-ever” homes. In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the total number of adopted animals for this one day was 2,951.  Nationwide, this event seems to get larger every year as more and more shelters take part in the momentum created by all the buzz.

There was so much excitement at Waggin’ Tails that day. I loved getting to see how happy & excited the  dogs became when they got picked by their new family. It was so wonderful to be a part of such a great cause and getting to be involved in the adoption process. My Mom and I volunteered in the “big” dog room. Sometimes these dogs get overlooked because of their size. But local community residents stepped up to the plate, and almost all were adopted. I will never forget this experience and I’m already looking forward to the next “Clear The Shelter” Day on July 16, 2016!

Saving our best friends,

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

Miss Teen Texas International Heads to the Teen International Pageant in Jacksonville, FL

Wow … I can’t believe it is already time to leave for Jacksonville early tomorrow morning!  I’M SO EXCITED!  I consider it a true blessing to have been crowned Miss Teen Texas International 2015.  I’ve had some awesome experiences and met some wonderful people.  As a Native Texan, I cherish this opportunity to represent my great state at the National Pageant!

I’d first like to thank God for breathing life into me and putting me on my path.  Thank You for all the blessings You have given to me and allowing me to live in the most awesome country in the world.

I’d like to thank my parents – especially my Momma.  Thank you both for making the commitment to me so I can be in the pageant.  Thank you for always keeping me on the top of your priority list – I know you have sacrificed a lot for me over the past few months.  Thank you for being my parent when I need one and a friend to me always.  You both have showered me in love and support and I thank you very much.

Also very high on my list is my Texas Pageant Director, Rachel.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect when this journey began a few months ago.  You have always been willing to be patient with me, and have given me the guidance I needed to hear at exactly the right time.  I am so impressed by your spirit and the zest you have for life.  Thank you for giving me the gift of your friendship.

A big “Thank You” goes to Queen Mum Pam, my predecessor Jahnavi, the other former Queens Whitney & Savannah, as well as the current Queens Farabe’ & Elise.  Your support, guidance, and sweet words of encouragement have truly meant the world to me.  I appreciate all of you!

I’d like to also say “THANK YOU” to the team of consultants and pageant sponsors that I am so very fortunate to have had help to prepare me for this week.  To my pageant coach Valerie – thank you for helping me to gain the confidence and skills needed for my interview – I hope I remember everything you have taught me and I make you proud!  To my walking coach Carlotta – you’ve taught me more about stage presence & grace in a few sessions than I’ve learned in all my 16 years.  To my style consultant Laine – thank you for helping me to develop a visual brand for myself that I truly adore.  To my cosmetic coach Sheila – thank you for taking the time to teach this 16 year old not only how to properly apply cosmetics, but also the importance of good nutrition and skin care.  Thank you to my awesome hair stylists Juan & Joe w/Satori Salon – Y’all are worth every minute of the drive from DFW to Houston because I love, love, love my hair style!  To my photographer Kerry – you have such an amazing ability to make me look my best in print – thank you for taking the time to get everything “just right” for me.  To my print consultant, Corrie w/Paper Patina – thank you for doing such an awesome job designing the print work because it couldn’t have turned out better!

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Richardson’s for sponsoring the International Pageant System.  When I was talking to my parents several months ago about submitting an application for a pageant, they said they were willing to make the commitment with me on the condition that I was able to find a pageant line that encouraged some type of volunteer work.  They wanted me to invest time in doing service work that I could commit to, learn from, and would be a benefit to our community.  People sometimes think a pageant is all about how pretty the girls are in their gorgeous outfits … and although those things are important, there’s more to it.  I’ve learned that beauty is not only measured on outward appearances but also what is in your heart.

Looking forward to a fabulous week!

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

Savannah gets a little help from some of her best friends as she leaves for the Teen International Pageant!

Savannah gets a little help from some of her best friends as she leaves for the Teen International Pageant!

Mrs. Texas International Farabe’ Algor featured in The Dallas Morning News

Mrs. Texas International Farabe’ Algor was recently featured by The Dallas Morning News for her work with Homes for Our Troops and other veterans’ organizations. Congratulations, Farabe’, and thank you to Charlie Scudder with the News! We love seeing our Mrs. Texas with her veterans.

Mrs. Texas International Farabe' Algor is featured in The Dallas Morning News for her work to support veterans.

Mrs. Texas International Farabe’ Algor is featured in The Dallas Morning News for her work to support veterans.

Read on! http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/mckinney/headlines/20150402-mckinney-mom-farabe-algor-to-help-veterans-as-mrs.-texas.ece

Farabe’ Algor Crowned Mrs. Texas International 2015

Farabé Algor_0806-2 CrownFarabe’ Algor, a mother of three from the McKinney area, has won the top Mrs. crown in the state of Texas, bringing it home to North Texas. She was crowned Mrs. Texas International during the Texas International Pageant, held March 15 at the Granville Arts Center in Dallas.

Algor competed among accomplished married women from all over the state of Texas to win her title. Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, and evening gown. The Mrs. Texas International system is the premier pageant competition for married women in Texas and emphasizes a woman’s ability to serve and lead her community, as well as inspire other women.

Algor is a dedicated wife and mother whose family includes her husband, Justin; twin boys, Thayer and Hudson; and a daughter, Annaleigh. Algor holds a bachelor of science degree in Health Education from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband moved to the area in 2012, where they enjoy being active members of Stonebriar Community Church.

As Mrs. Texas International, Algor will promote her platform, “Beyond Glory – Supporting Our Veterans,” which raises awareness for veterans’ issues and support for the men and women who have served our country. Algor’s goal is to reduce unemployment for veterans, advocate for reduced processing time for veterans’ claims, and to connect veterans with existing programs and services to help address their unique needs. Algor’s husband is a retired U.S. Army Ranger whose vehicle was hit by IEDs in Iraq seven times.

“Farabe’ has taken what is for her a very personal mission and expanded it as Mrs. Texas International to include the tens of thousands of veterans across our state who need our help and our gratitude,” said Rachel Hedstrom, executive director of the Texas International Pageant System and Director of the Year for all Miss and Teen International Pageants worldwide. “She is a passionate advocate for her cause, and this is what it’s all about for our queens. She will wear her crown with that unique Lone Star pride that is a true symbol of service for those who need a voice.”

The International System was established more than 20 years ago to adhere to a higher standard than other systems.  Texas International seeks more than a pretty face: winners have beauty and depth, and are committed to their communities. Like all pageants in the International System, contestants compete in fitness wear rather than swimsuit. The emphasis is on healthy lifestyle choices in accordance with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, with which the pageant system holds a national alliance.

Algor will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with women from the other 49 states and countries around the world for the title of Mrs. International this summer in Jacksonville, FL.

Applications are now being accepted for Mrs. Texas International 2016, Miss Texas International 2016 and Miss Teen Texas International 2016, to be held at the Granville Arts Center in Dallas, TX, in the spring of 2016. For more information on how to become a local titleholder and begin making a difference, ladies should visit www.mrstexasinternational.com, www.misstexasinternational.com, or www.missteentexasinternational.com.

To schedule a speaking engagement or appearance from any Texas International titleholder, please contact Rachel Hedstrom at texasinternationalpageant@gmail.com.