Saturday, March 31, 2012

Montgomery County SPCA

Today, I had the joy of attending Montgomery County SPCA 2nd Annual Spring Pet Portraits!
I didn't go as Miss Empire Rose, I went in support of a great cause and it just so happens that my sister queen Danielle Trumbull, Miss Empire Star has a platform dealing with animal rights.  
After seeing all of the animals at this event, I can see why Danielle chose to be their voice.  This event is such a wonderful cause, all of the money raised supported various organizations dealing with animals, and I even brought my dog Sassie to get some spring photos!
As you can see, Sassie even has her very own crown and she loved it!  My mom was so excited to have a picture of me and Sassie with our crowns on.  Sassie definitely stole the show, she's so photogenic!!  I also had the pleasure of talking with Bill Trojan from the Leader Herald, what an amazing photographer and writer.  I got to know him a little more and I can say this honestly....he really has done it all!  Thank you for all you do, and thank you for making Sassie and I famous in the newspaper.  Here's a throwback from winter...
T for Trojan!

I'm also very happy to announce that my Star Princes, Rileigh will be joining me at Miss New York!  She is such a remarkable young girl with a huge heart.  Every birthday, instead of asking for presents she asks for donations for organizations that support animals.  I couldn't ask for a better Star Princess to join me in my year of service as Miss Empire Rose.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!

This weekend was definitely a busy one...I LOVED IT!!  Keeping busy as Miss Empire Rose is only something to look at in a positive light.  I've been doing my best to prepare for Miss New York 2012 and to continue representing the Capital Region to the best of my ability.
I was overjoyed when Kaitlin Monte, Miss New York 2011 invited me to join her at her homecoming celebration.  I had kept up with the Miss New York Organization before competing even became an option and last year I was ecstatic to attend the Miss New York 2011 pageant where I saw Kaitlin crowned and was so confident that I had seen the future Miss America crowned at her sate pageant.  She went on to receive 2nd runner-up at Miss America and represents everything that Miss America stands for.  Ever since seeing her crowned in June of 2011, I've looked up to her as a role model just as much as I do at Miss America.  What makes Kaitlin such an amazing Miss New York is how relatable she is, and how she is the same person on stage competing for Miss America as she was when we were sitting on a booth at Billy Hurricane's in NYC.  She has such a huge heart that just keeps on giving and I know that even after she gives up her title as Miss New York she will continue to do so.  I was also quite thrilled when Kieren Sheridan told me she would also be at Kaitlin's homecoming, it was a blast, we were able to just sit and talk about everything and I also got to meet some of the people that have been very involved with Kaitlin's Project Empower, these people are truly amazing for everything that they do!

Sunday morning, my mother and I went on the Staten Island Ferry for the first time!  Last year in June when we came down to watch the Miss New York pageant we decided that the next time we were in the city we would take the ferry, and so we did.  I was able to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time, something that struck me as just so surreal.  While on our "cruise" from Staten Island to Manhattan we were able to make some friends that happened to carry badges!  Since we were from upstate, the officers were very interested as to how different things were upstate than downstate, for example, I had to tell several officers why I had studded tires....there's snow in upstate, I promise studded tires won't give me a flat tire!   We were also interested to hear their stories they had to share about their experiences working on the ferry and my mom made sure to make the point that they had a "queen" on board.  One thing that surprised me was how everyone thought it took SIX HOURS to get from Albany to the NYC!! only take about 3 and feels like 1!

I also attended the Southern County Triple Crown and the Statewide Triple Crown and happy to announce that six beautiful well-spoken women have joined me in the Miss New York class of 2012!
Congratulations to : 
 Miss Manhattan Katie Berry, Miss New York City Mallory Hagan, Miss Metropolitan Shannon Oliver 
 Miss Verrezano Christina Moore, Miss Western NY Jesse Ladoue, Miss Gotham City Acacia Courtney

I'm so excited to get to know these girls and share the experience of competing for Miss New York 2012 together.  Only a few more titles to go and the Miss New York class of 2012 will be complete!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview at WCSS

Today, I had the honor of joining Mike Mancini at WCSS for my very first radio interview!

I joined Mike for his 8 o'clock 'Mike in the Morning Show', it was quite early but he really knows how to wake you up!  He was full of compliments, advice and humor.  This appearance is something that is close to me, because in the fall I will be attending The College of Saint Rose to major in communications.  This was not only a great opportunity to get some interview practice, it was also a great opportunity for me to get the experience of what it's like behind the scenes at a radio station.  I LOVED IT!!  I know in my heart this is what I want to do, whether it's behind the scenes or in front of the camera.

Throughout my interview I was able to explain to Mike a little more about the Miss America Organization, and I also educated him on what my job as Miss Empire Rose consists of.  I was happy that I was able to expand Mike's knowledge of the pageant world.  Here's a short clip from my interview:

Radio Interview Preview by katiems

Before I left, Mike made me promise on live radio that I would return for another interview in the future as Miss New York and as Miss America...that my friend is a promise I plan to keep!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today, I had the honor of joining the Grand Marshals in the 62nd Annual Albany St. Patrick's Day Parade.  This year the Watervliet AOH/LAOH did an amazing job as the Grand Marshals, it was such an amazing experience to a part of this with them.

It was a perfect day for a parade, I heard several people mention that it was the nicest it's ever been for the St. Patrick's Day parade.  I'm ecstatic to say that the turnout was amazing, it put a huge smile on my face to see the community support for the parade and to know that I represent them.

My sister queen and I had the privilege of riding in a very unique vehicle, a '65 GTO to be exact, and oh my did the crowd go wild when our driver would rev up the engine!  

A huge shout out to Jerri Hess for making this experience possible, thank you!

Miss Mohawk Valley

This weekend I attended the Miss Mohawk Valley 2012 pageant for the crowning of their ninth titleholder and to see who would join me in the Miss New York class of 2012.  Laurie Jean Britton is the Miss Mohawk Valley Executive Director and she put on a beautiful and entertaining show, as she always does.  In fact...the Miss New York Organization awarded Laurie Jean in 2009 with 'Best Local Pageant Production'!  

Miss New York 2011, Kaitlin Monte joined the Miss Mohawk Valley Organization to host the pageant along with Joe DiVisconti.  Kaitlin did an amazing job and gave some of the best advice that I will cherish forever.  She's such an excellent public speaker and so relatable, I feel like I've known her forever even though I just met her in February.  I'm looking forward to Miss New York, because I know that Kaitlin, along with the Miss New York Organization will make it an experience that I will never forget.  

I've been to watch the Miss Mohawk Valley pageant and I've also had the opportunity to compete in the pageant, but this time, I was sitting in the audience supporting all the contestants as Miss Empire Rose which is a first time experience I will never forget.  I was able to feel the way the audience feels, and I would have to say that I was just as nervous sitting in my seat as I am when waiting behind stage getting ready to compete!

There were eight beautiful and talented women competing for the title and each and every one of them were so deserving.  I would of loved to see all of them join me in the Miss New York class of 2012, but only one girl can go home with the title of Miss Mohawk Valley 2012....

Congratulations to Miss Mohawk Valley 2012, Courtney Sheridan!!
I'm excited to share my Miss New York experience with Courtney, she's such a beautiful and well spoken woman.  Congratulations to all of the contestants, you all did an amazing job!  Also, Congratulations to Lynn Tryon for a wonderful year as Miss Mohawk Valley 2011, you're amazing!
To find out more about Miss Mohawk Valley, you can visit,
for more information about Miss New York, you can visit

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mental Health Matters

Every year nearly 37,000 people die by suicide and 90% of people that die by suicide had a diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death.  

Today, I attended the Mental Health Matters Legislative Advocacy Day in Albany.  Every year the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS) put on this event that allows people's voices and stories be heard.  I had the honor of attending not only as Miss Empire Rose 2012 but as a sitting board member on the AFSP board of directors.  They had me manage a table with another board member that had tons of information about suicide and AFSP.  I was able to meet so many people, listen to their stories and answer their questions about AFSP and also my crown and platform!

One of the most memorable things about today was listening to a young women give a speech about her story and why mental health matters to her.  While she was serving our country she was a victim of sexual abuse which led her to be diagnosed with depression, she told her story and how she was fortunate enough to get the help she needed to get better.  

I loved seeing several high schools attend the Mental Health Matters Day.  The Yellow Ribbon Group is a team of teens advocating for suicide prevention and awareness, I felt so honored to be asked to get a picture with the group and we had a fun time laughing at my mom struggling with her camera!  Just a few years ago, my junior year in high school, I was attending this event...this event opened the door for me to be able to talk about my experiences with suicide throughout my life.  It helped me realize that it's okay to talk about suicide.  If I had never attended this event a few years ago, I would have never had the courage to choose this as my platform, because I would still be keeping my experiences locked up in a closet.  This is what we need, we need schools to become more involved with suicide prevention and awareness and mental health.  We need to educate students, teachers and health professionals about mental illness and suicide.  Knowledge is power, it will save lives.

After the guest speakers, we proceeded to the Capitol steps, where I was able to share my experience with suicide and tell everyone why mental health matters to me.  I admit, I was nervous!  Thanks to the help of a board member, I was able to get over my fears and stand up in front of everyone and tell them my story...I have to say it was one of the best feelings.  It was also an opportunity for other people to tell their story and that's what is so wonderful about this day, people are able to stand on the Capitol steps and let their story be heard.  We proceeded to march around the Capitol building chanting "MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS" and it was wonderful to see people walking on the streets start to chant and join in this fight with us!

I had the honor of meeting with Senator Hugh Farley and I felt like a million dollars when I felt he was just as honored to meet me.  We discussed my platform of Suicide Prevention and Awareness and why we were there for Mental Health Matters Day.  I remember meeting with Senator Hugh Farley in 4th grade and again my junior year in high school for Mental Health Matters Day, he's still the man I remember, caring, compassionate and so knowledgeable!  After getting a nice picture in front of the biggest clock I've ever seen, he gave me a little history lesson about the room we were in...the New York State Senate Chamber.  It was hard to believe that I was standing inside a room that was proclaimed the "most beautiful room in America" and what made that even more unbelievable is that the original carpet in the chamber was made in Amsterdam New York, right near my hometown of Broadalbin!!

After a wonderful meeting with Senator Hugh Farley, I met with Assembly Member Marc Butler, I was amazed with how he listened to me with open ears and an open heart.  I could tell that he knew how important mental health is and agreed that there need for suicide prevention and awareness.

Thank you AFSP and MHANYS for having me at the Mental Health Matters Legislative Advocacy Day in Albany.  It's definitely an experience I will always remember and I can't wait to attend next year!

For more information about AFSP, you can visit
For more information about MHANYS, you can visit

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Frances G. Tersla Gannon

Last Saturday two major things happened that would change my life forever, I was crowned Miss Empire Rose 2012 and my 104 year old Great Grandmother passed away.  Although she was 104 and wasn't able to see me compete, I've found that she had been there with me at all seven pageants I competed in.  She always found a way of being a topic of conversation in my interviews and I loved talking about her, she had this way of calming my nerves when her name was brought up.

On Saturday while I was in my interview, she was on her way to take a nap that would take her to a better place.  As I was being crowned Miss Empire Rose 2012, my Grandfather was calling my mom to tell her the news.  I'd like to think that my Great Grandmother felt that it was time because she had somewhere else to be, she wanted to be able to see something that she helped make crowning.  Every time I put my crown on, even look at it, I think of my Great Grandmother.  I know that she is with me and I like to think of her as living through my crown.

My Great Grandmother was born on October 10, 1907 and at her wake we discussed some interesting facts about the year she was born.  I found it pretty amazing how things used to be, so I thought I would share some with you :

the Hershey Kiss was invented
average life expectancy was 47 (she surpassed that expectation)
8% of homes had a telephone
14% homes had a bathtub 
a 3 minute phone call from Denver to NYC was $11
only 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads
average wage was 22 cents per hour
95% all births were at home
doctors had no college education
sugar cost four cents a pound
eggs were 14 cents a dozen
coffee was 15 cents a pound
5 leading causes of death :
1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
population in Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30
crossword puzzles and iced tea had yet to be invented
no Mother's Day or Father's Day
two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write
only 6% Americans graduated from High School
only 230 reported murders in the entire United States

Just think what it would have been like to live back then.  It's amazing to see how far we've come in just a little over a century and we're still moving forward.  Where will we be in 2112?

RIP Great Grandma

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Start of Something New

Hello everyone,
my name is Katelynn Smith and I'm your new
Miss Empire Rose 2012

Where do I even start?
Yesterday was the start of something new, a journey to my dream and a journey that will have memories to last a lifetime.  I competed with 10 other beautiful young women and any one of them were just as deserving of the crown as I was.  I'm proud to say that one of those 10 young women just so happens to be my sister queen!  Congratulations
Miss Empire Star 2012, Danielle Trumbull

This was my second year competing in the Miss America Organization and it was my 7th pageant.  Last year I competed at Miss Empire Rose/Empire Star and I was 2nd runner up.  That was the first time I had ever placed in a pageant and Janet Murphy made my first time placing such a wonderful experience.  I couldn't be more honored to represent the Miss Empire Rose Organization.

A little about myself:
I am 20 years old
I am a full time student
I will be graduating FMCC in May
I will be attending The College of Saint Rose in the fall
I am a dancer
I love to bake (I make a world famous pumpkin roll)
I live in the small town of Broadalbin
I watch The View religiously
It's my dream to be Miss America.

Throughout my year as Miss Empire Rose, I will be promoting my platform of 
Suicide Prevention and Awareness
I am very passionate about this topic, it's something that is very close to me and it's also something I feel almost every person can relate to.  I want to focus on decreasing the stigma that surrounds suicide to make it a more preventable issue.  Suicide is something that can be 100% preventable and we can come together to increase the knowledge of suicide so that people that are struggling are more likely to reach out for help before turning to suicide for an answer.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I plan to run with it!  My first step towards achieving my dream was to win Miss Empire Rose.  Now that I have taken my first step, it's time to start preparing for the next...Miss New York!  I will competing in June at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island for the title of Miss New York 2012!  For more information, visit

Well, it's time to get working on being the best Miss Empire Rose I can be!  
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