Miss Michigan Outstanding Teen returns to her Havel roots

Julia Smith, Miss Michigan Outstanding Teen and Henry Ford II High School freshman, recently visited Havel Elementary School to speak to an assembly of fourth, fifth and sixth grade girls. 

It was an enjoyable homecoming for Julia, who attended both Havel and Bemis Junior High School. She charmed the students – including her sister Sarah, a fourth grader – with advice on pursuing career dreams and doing their best in school.

She also read them an excerpt from a book in the Girls Know How series entitled Smart Alex, which advocates understanding and respect for others. As the series’ official Michigan representative, Julia donated a set of the books to the Havel media center. 

The books were written by Ellen Langas Campbell, a past Mrs. Pennsylvania title holder and former marketing instructor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Small Business Development Center. 

The girls were asked to write down their dream jobs and imagine which required the most education, offered the most travel or adventure and even which they thought were the most glamorous. 

Among the careers named were physical therapist, teacher, fashion designer, professional singer, veterinarian, chef, pharmacist, artist, cosmetologist and even a U.S. Navy SEAL!

Julia encouraged the students to dream big, but to work even bigger to achieve those dreams.
“College is so important and should be everyone’s goal, no matter what you want to be,” she said. 

She touched on some of her own challenges in elementary school and junior high and how she overcame them and gained the confidence to win the Outstanding Teen title. She closed by leading the students in pledging to always believe in themselves and never underestimate their abilities. “I can do anything,” they chorused with her, “because this is MY life!” 

Julia, an honor roll student at Ford II, plans to add the scholarship prize money that came with her title toward her college fund. She hopes to earn a degree in communications and journalism from the University of Alabama. She said her own dream career is to replace Matt Lauer on The Today Show one day. 

Julia won the 2013 Miss Michigan Outstanding Teen title by besting ten finalists from across the state last June. She was quick to explain to the students that the pageant is a scholarship program and not a “beauty contest.” The Miss Michigan crown can lead to the Miss America competition and the opportunity for a full scholarship, she said. 

A full schedule of statewide and national appearances during her year-long reign is keeping Julia quite busy when she’s not in school. Her experiences are rewarding, educational and enable her to exercise leadership and interpersonal skills, said her mother, Mary Smith. 

The leadership role is very evident in Julia’s pageant platform “four points for cancer,” which she chose in honor of her aunt, a cancer survivor, and a young friend who succumbed to the disease. 

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