More Than A Crown

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More Than A Crown

Anne Dalton, Managing Editor

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Miss Agriculture USA is a unique program that is much more than the prize. Through pageantry, senior Hannah Noel has been able to share her passion with others.  As an agvocate, her main focus is to help others understand the importance of innovation in the industry.

Hannah got involved with Miss Agriculture USA at the end of last summer after being referred by one of her friends.  She was hesitant at first because it was something completely new, but looking back she is beyond thankful to have taken the opportunity.  The stars aligned for her as she entered the competition because the entry for Westmoreland County was open. Early into her senior year, she was named the 2019 Westmoreland County Miss Agriculture USA.  Since the time she received the crown and sash, she has been capturing the heart of younger girls while passing along her knowledge in agriculture to others.

Outside of school, Hannah is highly involved in her community as she volunteers at bingo through her church and cash bashes.  She said, “It opens the door perfectly for me to talk about agriculture. As I like to think of it, the crown and sash are just a way to catch people’s attention.”  Her crown empowers her to talk to people about what she is most passionate about.

Hannah has attended the Pennsylvania Farm show and volunteered as a member of Miss Agriculture.  “I got to wear my crown when I was working in the barbeque stand and most of the people I handed food to talked with me about agriculture,” said Noel.  “I also got to walk around with some of my sister queens and meet them and spend time with them.”

“I don’t know if I have a favorite part about competing,” said Noel.  “I just like showing my chickens and working and showing with goats. It’s something fun to do and I get to spend time with my friends while doing it, along with bettering my skills and working to keep improving and learning.”

Earlier this month, the state competition was held in which Hannah submitted an essay and a photo. The night before the competition there was a meet and greet at the hotel all of the queens were staying in.  She got to meet other girls in her age division as well as spend time with director Shannon Gallagher Wingert. When competing in the Miss Ag program, she looks up to Shannon the most because she truly loves what she does and she enjoys helping kids. “She works hard at everything she does and balances running the national program, working on her family’s farm with her husband, and does a lot in her community,” said Noel.

The following day, they dressed in business attire as they came to the competition.  Interviews were held by two judges and Hannah had three minutes to make a good impression.  During the on-stage introduction portion of the competition, each of the girls had had to give a 30 second to a minute introduction about themselves and tell the judges and the audience about their lives and interests.  “Then we had to run and change our outfits to what they called ag wear.” Outfits were based off an agriculture related industry in Pennsylvania in which Hannah chose the poultry industry.

The speech and on-stage questionnaire was the most nerve wracking part of the competition for Hannah.  She said, “It was really hard not to listen to the other girls in my division and not want to change my speech.”  

The final aspects of the competition were evening wear and crowning.  Evening wear allowed the girls to express their personalities with confidence. Hannah enjoyed the crowning experience.  Each age division was called up on stage and awards were given out for each category.

Hannah had a successful experience in her first ever state Miss Agriculture USA competition.  She placed third in essay, second in ag wear, impromptu, and evening wear, and first in interview.  “I honestly didn’t expect to even get a third in one category let alone seconds and a first,” said Noel.  “I believe that any of the girls in my division would have made an amazing state queen.”

Although she did not win the state title or runner-up, she is thankful for all the girls who were a part of her journey.  She enjoyed meeting all the wonderful people who care as much about Pennsylvania and agriculture as she does.

At age 17, Hannah was the youngest in her age division.  The director informed her following the competition that she was very close to getting first runner-up. Her age division ranges from 17-21, which sets Hannah’s expectations high as she competed against girls who have more experience than her and who are in college.  

Since Hannah’s involvement in pageants, she says her mother has supported her the most in everything she has done.  Her mom has been there through the highs and the lows and is beyond proud of her for her accomplishments. “She is always getting me where I need to go and always has what I forget, and she’s always pushing me to be my best,” said Noel.  “I’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things, not just through 4-H, but she has always been there to make sure I do my best.”

“I am extremely excited to continue my duties as an agvocate for agriculture and to help making a difference in our world and doing one of the things I love most, educating the public about something that I know and love. Agriculture,” said Noel.

Miss Agriculture USA pageants are a not only an opportunity to be seen and heard, but a chance at something more, while obtaining friendships that will last forever. Hannah is excited to continue to be involved and do something that brings happiness to her life.

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