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The Road to Miss New Jersey – Miss Ocean County – Marissa Sanders

As we continue our “Road to Miss New Jersey” series, our next contestant is Miss Ocean County, Marissa Sanders.

Please tell us why you chose to compete for your local county’s title?
I had heard of the Miss America Organization a few years prior to becoming a part of it, but I wanted to know what was is all about. I decided to take the step of signing up to participate in a few locals, and I was beyond excited to take home a crown at the Miss Ocean County pageant. I wanted to be a part of this organization because of the way it promotes young women and how it allows us to learn, grow, and succeed. I knew as soon as I walked off of the stage at Miss Ocean County that there were going to be so many opportunities not only for me, but for the community to learn about the organization and my personal platform as well.

What do you plan to accomplish if you were to win the title of Miss NJ 2016?
As Miss NJ 2016, I plan to travel all over our state to meet many people and be able to listen to their stories and words of wisdom while also sharing my experiences and advice with them. Engaging in conversation, no matter how short, is so important in getting to know people. That is what I want to do; to know others enough to appreciate their stories, share in their laughter and in their tears, and be 100% myself so they can get to know me too. I want to be a role model to inspire others like I have been inspired. Lastly, I want to serve; I intend to go to as many events as possible to serve the community that has given me a place to call home and our entire state which I have also called home for my whole life.

Share with our readers a bit more about you platform and why you picked this particular one.
My platform is abbreviated as “R.E.A.D.” The “R” stands for research, which is all about gaining knowledge of new ways to teach children how to read, how to continue encouraging their reading through adulthood, and finding out the facts about reading difficulties. The next letter, “E” stands for educate; I plan to bring awareness to parents, family members, neighbors etc. of the problems reading difficulties can cause and why we need to focus on reading intervention, especially at an early age. The “A” stands for analyze; this is where I will look at the strategies used for teaching children to read, encouraging reading and any other research aspect of my platform and figure out which strategies proved to be successful. Finally, “D” stands for dedicate because there is not just one simple answer to any literacy problem. It takes time to figure out what is working and what isn’t and it is imperative to know that the first try might not work and that does not mean that we have failed. It just means we have to tweak our plan a bit.

I chose my platform because I feel reading is the key to any person’s success and I have witnessed the power of reading in my own family. My grandparents were immigrants who came to the United States from Italy at the age of 25 and they knew not even a word in English. They knew that in order to live their lives to the fullest in the “American-dream” way that they had heard of, they would have to learn to read and write in English. And that is what they did. They were able to work during the day and attend night classes to learn the language, and it opened so many doors for them. They grew to have a successful life with three children of their own and 7 grandchildren, me included, and I have to wonder what would have happened if they hadn’t come to America and learned English. I might not be the person I am today. Since I have seen the magic that comes from literacy, I can honestly say that it is one of the most important aspects of life and that’s why I decided to promote literacy with my platform R.E.A.D.

“Bravura” is an artistic word for exceptional; in your own words, tell us what makes you ‘bravura’!
What makes me “bravura” is my versatility. From a very young age, I was exposed to several sports and hobbies, which has given me a deeper appreciation for a variety of things. I can relate to the past and present students who had to sit in orchestra rehearsals for hours, but I can also relate to those who had to be away an entire weekend for a soccer tournament or another sporting event. Knowing about music because of my desire at the age of 6 to play the violin, or about the importance of teamwork from years of town basketball, soccer and tennis, or about the technique and practice dance requires since I began at age 3 have all taught me so much. Those experiences have made me aware of the efforts that people put in to their chosen activity. Having a full schedule of multiple different things ranging from teaching violin lessons to theater rehearsals to gym visits, I enjoy being versatile and skilled in many areas.

To purchase tickets for the upcoming Miss New Jersey pageant, please visit THIS LINK.