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Raina Jo West
Miss Purchase District 

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I am Raina Jo West, your 2021 Miss Purchase District. I am an upcoming senior this year at Crittenden County High School and a student of Madisonville Community College, upon high school graduation i plan to transfer to a University in the fall. I enjoy reading, working out, listening to music, practicing makeup, cheerleading and spending time with my friends and family. 

 Picture this: a chubby cheeked, eight year old version of me, at my very first pageant. I’d practiced and rehearsed weeks in advance. I knew I was ready. It was my time to go on stage and introduce myself, when all of a sudden, I forgot everything. I even forgot my own name. That night I left the pageant with a feeling of disappointment and discouragement, but I knew this wasn’t it for me.

 

Flash forward to me now. 18 years old, holding the title of Miss Purchase District. My very first pageant seemed like just a small fragment of every memory I’ve made doing pageants. I was now vying for the title of Miss Jr. Teen Kentucky United States. The crowd was big, the lights were bright. I’d done this so many times now, it felt normal and even exciting. It was now time to introduce myself again, I started off fine. I was doing great and all of a sudden, I stopped. I flashed back to that eight year old me in her big pink dress, terrified of the audience, and the feeling was just the same. Even though so much has changed, a couple things remain the same: I still mess up, and in that moment I realized I am not perfect and nobody is ever going to be perfect.

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Miss Jr Teen Kentucky United States Best
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After the pageant I left feeling grateful, yet still disappointed in myself. With tear filled eyes, I told my mom that I thought I was past this: getting on stage and spacing out. She replied by saying that this was just a bump in the road and that I am going to be able to use these experiences to help others in the future. I replied to her by saying, “this is the turning point in my story.”

 

My platform is the “I Love You” Gifts Project where the objective is to make hard days hopeful for people of all ages through meaningful gift giving and encouragements. This is very personal for me because of the meaning behind it.  

 

I am the only girl in my family along with 4 brothers and two of which are my triplet siblings. When we were growing up our parents would give us just because presents and call them an I love you gift. These were gifts that were not for something such as a birthday or Christmas gift. They were for no other reason than to just say I love you.

 

I love to give people gifts if they are having a bad day, a hard time, or just to say hey, you are doing great and I see you. I want to remind people that they are thought of, and most importantly, that they are deeply loved. I want to be a part of spreading positive change and I believe this how I can do my part. I started this project during the pandemic as a way to give back to my community in a safe way. I have been able to send multiple gifts throughout this time, and I plan to grow this number even more as I continue this project. 

Shine On,

Raina

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