Children's Parade GRAND MARSHAL

Kelly Bernard
2009 Miss Louisiana's Outstanding Teen
Top 10 Semi-Finalist Miss America’s Outstanding Teen

Kelly Bernard
2009 Miss Louisiana's Outstanding Teen
Top 10 Semi-Finalist Miss America’s Outstanding Teen

Hometown: Hammond, Louisiana

Education: St. Thomas Aquinas High School – Senior

Platform: Eating Disorder Awareness Reaching Teens

Educational Ambition: Obtain a Bachelors degree in Biology/Pre-Med Pursue a career in Emergency Medicine and/or a career in Country Music.

Talent: Vocal- "The Climb"

Scholastic Achievements: Member of the "Who’s Who Among American High School
Students"; A National Society of High School Scholar; Louisiana District Literary Rally competitor in Foreign Language; Recipient of St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s Spanish Academic Award; Recipient of Presidents Award; National Honor Society Member; Member of Honor Roll for 5 semesters.

Accomplishments: Played the role of Kristy in the spring production Annie’s Gift; Finalist in Amateur Idol in 2008; Sang Halftime show at Louisiana’s Ladies Top 28 in 2007 and 2008; Sang opening ceremony for Louisiana’s Special Olympics in 2007.

Leadership Roles: St. Thomas Aquinas High School Student Council Representative and Ambassador; Member of the newspaper/yearbook staff, Campus Ministry, Choir, Drama and Key Club; Cantor at Holy Ghost Church; Performs the "National Anthem" at sporting and social events both city and state wide.

Interesting Facts: Kelly is a distant relative of famous author William Faulkner. She accidentally, physically bumped into Jon Bon Jovi at Saks in New Orleans. Kelly has performed several times vocally with Nashville Recording Artists Todd O’Neill and Stephen Cochran.

Platform Information
Eating disorders are among the top five most common chronic illnesses in the United States among adolescent girls. According to reported cases, approximately eight million young women in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. The advertisement industry such as television, films, fashion magazines, and pop culture give the impression that the only way to be accepted into today’s society is to have the “perfect” physical appearance.

Around the age of twelve, like any other average adolescent girl, I experienced many changes in my self esteem; I wanted to fit in. Today’s media has a profound influence on what the term “fit in” means and I began to buy into that program. I thought that to be accepted by my peers, I had to act a certain way, speak a certain way, but most of all look a certain way. That way of thinking led me to innocently cutting back on portions, which then led to sometimes simply not eating at all. Beautiful people exercise to stay slim and trim. So I started to exercise moderately at first which then ultimately resulted into over exercising. I thought this way of life was normal in order to achieve a beautiful physical appearance and acceptance. While allowing these unhealthy eating habits and abnormal exercise routines to become a part of my life, I experienced troubles in my friendships, my family life, school work, and more low-self esteem problems that often accompany adolescent girls, already at this age. In spite of my struggle to appear “beautiful”, I started realizing that beauty on the outside was not a standard by which one should be measured, but beauty on the inside was the key to self acceptance. My platform is: “Eating Disorders Awareness Reaching Teens” – an inspirational program primarily focused on relaying the message that inner beauty is what leads to self acceptance and self acceptance is what leads to happiness and joy.

Although my platform is primarily focused on teenagers and the dangers of eating disorders, my mission is to inspire and bring hope to teenage girls struggling with low self-esteem. It is normal for teenage girls to battle with low self esteem and yet not consume themselves in solving this problem. Danger exists when one tries to raise their self-esteem by overcompensating through extreme measures. Through my story, I can help teens throughout the country realize that they are beautiful, as they were created. There are no set of guidelines to being beautiful, except the guidelines that shape one’s character, integrity and inner qualities. My platform reaches out to teens with low self-esteem. Knowledge, understanding, compassion, and encouragement are key factors necessary in solving low self-esteem problems.


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