GRAVETTE -- Ava Mitchael, 18, of Gravette, was crowned National American Miss Arkansas Teen at the National American Miss Arkansas Pageant held June 4-6 in Tulsa, Okla.
The pageant, open to girls ages 4 through 18 in five different age divisions, was held at the Southern Hills Marriott Hotel. Ava's win means she will represent the state of Arkansas for a year and earns the right to compete in the National American Miss Pageant in Orlando, Fla., during Thanksgiving week.
Mitchael competed against eight other contestants in her age division and received a $1,000 cash award, the official crown and banner, a bouquet of roses and air transportation to compete in the national pageant. Contestants compete in four overall categories, which include formal wear modeling, personal introduction, interview and community service project. Mitchael also competed in several other optional contests, such as top model search, talent, runway, casual wear, academic achievement, best resume, heart of service and photogenic. She placed first in each optional category except Heart of Service and Photogenic, in which she placed second.
Organizers said the National American Miss Pageant based on inner beauty, as well as poise and presentation, and offers an "All-American spirit of fun for family and friends." Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self-confidence and learning new skills, such as good attitudes about competition, as well as setting and achieving personal goals.
Ava said competing in the pageant was "a chance to have fun and share my heart with others, but there are a lot of outfit changes and it's a lot of work." She sang "Journey to the Past" from the movie Anastasia as her talent presentation in Tulsa and said she plans to sing again in the National pageant, although she hasn't picked a song yet. Mitchael said she loves singing and also enjoys reading her Bible, playing with her dog Gracie and using calligraphy to make cards for people.
Mitchael works as a pharmacy technician at Highlands Oncology Group. She has earned her EMT and pharmacy tech certification through the IGNITE program at Bentonville Schools. On June 25, she placed in the top 10 in the HOSA (HOSA Future Health Professionals) international competition in the EMT category. Ava and her partner, McKenna Bagley, won the state HOSA EMT competition in March, and she also competed at state in pharmacy science and took second place. She explained that the international competition was virtual and involved a multiple-choice test and a skills competition which was a simulated scenario of treating an injured patient.
Another of Ava's activities is advocating for Alzheimer's patients. She has started an organization she calls Arts for Alzheimer's in which she has collected earbuds, musical CDs and tapes and musical instruments for use by Alzheimer's patients. She is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for the organization and choosing candidates to serve on the board.
Mitchael is the daughter of Steve and Jill Mitchael of Gravette and the granddaughter of John and the late Ruth Mitchael of Gravette and Royce and the late Sandy Turner of Muleshoe, Texas. Her sponsors in the state pageant included her parents; her grandfathers; her aunts and uncles Jan and Clay Thurman, Jay and Jenny Mitchael, Steve and Noel Turner; the Muleshoe Senior Center; and 72 West.
Ava is enrolled in the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville for the fall semester. She plans to major in biochemistry and minor in music. She plans a career in the health care field.