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pageantry interview ● rachel wyatt Keep on Dancing Rachel Wyatt will soon head off to college at Clemson University, but not before leaving behind a shining legacy as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen W hen Rachel Wyatt’s name was announced as the newest Miss America’s Outstanding Teen on August 18, 2012 in Orlando, she immedi- ately cemented her legacy by taking a knee for the popular “Tebowing” pose. A tribute to former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, the pose might not go over so well now with her new friends on the Clemson University dance team, but they’d probably at least appreciate the context, as Rachel’s win was the defin- ing moment of her young life. But harmless rivalries between college football confer- ences aside, Rachel’s new chapter at Clemson is just anoth- er step for her on the long journey that she’s destined to take in helping so many others with her unique world views and sharp intelligence. Having already founded and main- tained her own dance group, the Challenger Class, for spe- cial needs students, Rachel is looking forward to not only determining her professional path, but also expanding on her already rich experiences in promoting her own philan- thropy, as well as the Children’s Miracle Network as part of the Miss America Organization. While her future is yet to be written, Rachel knows that no matter what she does, she’ll never stop dancing and leav- ing lasting impressions on the many people she touches. Pageantry magazine: It’s hard to believe that al- most a year has passed since you won your title in Orlando. What has this year as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen meant to you? Rachel Wyatt: This has been just an absolutely incredible experience, and it’s something that I just didn’t expect. And even though this year was unexpected, it has been such an enormous blessing. Honestly, it’s so hard to put into words what it means to me. I feel so absolutely and incredibly blessed to have these opportunities, and now I’m looking forward to passing along the crown to the next lucky girl who will get to experience this wonderful title. 62 PAGEANTRY PM: When we last spoke, one of your goals was to travel. How much time have you been able to spend on the road this year? RW: I think that I accomplished that goal. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling throughout the year, and I’ll still have quite a bit to come, because I’ll be graduating school and right after that we’ll be taking off for the summer tour. PM: Has there been any place that you’ve visited this year that really stuck out and made you change any preconceptions that you had? RW: I have really loved anywhere that I’ve been able to travel, but anywhere that I get to dance in front of people and perform and do what I love, those are the places that I have just enjoyed so, so much. Especially North Carolina, because I didn’t expect it to be what it was, I guess, and it was fun—it was really a lot like home—and the people there were so welcoming and sweet, and they really opened up their homes and hearts to my mom and I. It was really a special experience. That’s one that sticks out for sure. I’ve learned that it’s not the places that you go to, but the peo- ple that you meet while you’re there. PM: You’ve got to spend a lot of time with the Children’s Miracle Network. How has that impacted your life? RW: Oh my goodness, it definitely changed it for the bet- ter. Just knowing that even if I just stop by for a little while and interact with the kids some, that puts such a huge smile on their faces. I love to let them hold the crown or wear it