Kiowa County High School freshman Chelsye Racette made it clear that she doesn’t have a future on the pageant circuit. Sparkling tiaras, runways and competitive mother-daughter teams à la Toddlers and Tiaras will take a back seat to her college education and hopefully a career in medicine.
“There is a lot of money that goes into [pageants],” said Racette, who admitted to never having done a pageant before. “I’d rather save my money for college than spend it on the dresses and make-up and stuff that goes into pageants. But I’ve always wanted to try it.”
A letter that arrived at the Racette home in January declared the 15-year-old, a Kansas finalist in a statewide beauty competition.
“She sent in paperwork and a picture,” said her mother Mary, who works at the nearby Greensburg State Bank. “It’s great for her self-confidence, just to get out there and try stuff. We went to Wichita for a coaching session, there were a lot of girls but she’ll win. She’s got all of them beat.”
She will spend the next two months practicing around the house for the competition that will take place July 20-23 in Wichita.
When asked if she would artificially tan she said, “Maybe spray tan, I don’t know.”
The prospect of a crown and the lure of the bright lights may have been of some interest to her, but the soft-spoken teen has her heart set on college and a future in Pediatric Oncology.
“I think [the pageant] would look good on my college application,” she said.
She can also add her membership to the People to People Student Ambassador Program, which will send her and her close friend Denise Ramos and 11 other area students to Europe for a 20-day “cultural exchange” later this summer to her applications.
The organization, created by former president and Kansas native Dwight D. Eisenhower, will send the students to Vatican City, Sicily, Greece, Pompeii and other European hot spots. There was a lengthy application process for the program with required letters of recommendations and interviews.
Racette also said that one stop will have them taking dancing lessons from local students.
She will bring something from the area to share with other hosting students and will return the favor later this year when a foreign delegation will come to Dodge City, although she admitted to not having figured out what to bring.
“Maybe something from The Big Well, I’m not sure,” she added.
But before she jets off to Atlanta to meet the other students and spends three weeks gallivanting around Europe, she has a competition to win.
“I’m sure it’s going to be fun,” she said. “I’m nervous but more excited.”
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