Miss Apple Blossom
Name: Victoria Maiden
Beating the Odds: A Living Miracle
When faced with a challenge, the majority of people often say they “can’t.” This phrase is uttered thousands of times each day and has become so normal to use in one’s every day vocabulary intended to be the easy way out of hard work. My twin sister and I were born premature, weighing a little over two pounds, and our parents were told that we most likely wouldn’t live through one entire day. However, if we did survive, we would likely have learning disabilities, birth defects, and physical limitations. Every time I take the field at the University of Virginia in front of 60,000 people, I am reminded of the challenges I was told I would face and how I never once said “I can’t.”
Although I am very fortunate to have not been diagnosed with a major physical disability, I did, however, suffer academically in the classroom. Throughout middle school and high school I was slower than the majority of my classmates in understanding what was meant to be “simple” material. I struggled to easily comprehend mathematic equations and grammar, and I remember oftentimes feeling discouraged about my grades. At the end of my high school career, I knew I wanted to further my education and obtain the ultimate goal of being a four-year college graduate. Unfortunately, even though my heart longed for a traditional college setting, my grades hindered me from achieving what I most wanted. At that moment in my life, I was handed every reason to give up; every reason to let that obstacle for so many years define who I was as an individual, and ultimately define who I would be for the rest of my life. In the fall of 2009, I enrolled in classes at a community college in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I felt easily transitioned from high school to a college environment. My twin sister and I experienced our lifelong dream of twirling baton in a football stadium when the University of Virginia offered us a scholarship to take part in their program. After four semesters of dedication and hard work, I was accepted into the University of Virginia as an official third year student. That day, I defied the odds.
There is not a more powerful thing in this world than attaining a goal that you work day after day to achieve; especially the goals that others told you were not possible to reach. Today, I reflect on my achievements that remain as evidence of the way that I define myself: a living miracle. As Miss Apple Blossom Festival, I will:
Expound upon my previous experiences, reaching a wider audience of young people and spreading my message, to impart the greatest impact on the City of Winchester.
Further my partnership with the March of Dimes Virginia Chapter, mobilizing the community to take committed action in building our youth into confident, capable, and healthy citizens of tomorrow.
Create age-specific programs for promoting success, utilizing a variety of methods to engage students such as demonstrating the obstacles and disabilities of noteworthy celebrities.
As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're always right." Oftentimes, we’re all guilty of being individuals afraid of failure; individuals who fall into excuses that our minds are capable of formulating, or giving up with only having attempted one time, but I look forward to empowering Winchester's youth to recognize their long term results of having positive, self-motivating attitudes. We all come into this world with different obstacles that we will face in life. It is inevitable that a vast majority of our youth will face adversity of some kind, such as depression, divorce or even bullying. I know that my life’s purpose is to demonstrate to others to see obstacles as hurdles; hurdles they can overcome.