Featured image credit via Anna Ross.
Cristi McKee, EIC, 12
“I truly believe that finding something you are passionate about will lead you to success. …I like to keep in mind that everything happens for a reason. I know that I am exactly where I’m at right now for a purpose,” is Florida Virtual School Flex senior Anna Ross’ life mantra. As reigning Miss Florida Teen 2017, the 18-year-old has been taking FLVS classes since 2015 to better fit her busy schedule as a pageant queen, classically-trained ballerina and student.
Anna began competing in pageants such as National American Miss in the Jr. Teen and Teen divisions at the state and national level, as well as as Miss Florida American Beauty Teen and Miss Florida Earth Teen in 2015. She was honored to win Miss Florida Teen 2017 this past July.
“The skills and confidence that you gain from participating in pageants is priceless. I’ve been equipped with life long skills that are essential to my future, like interviewing, writing a resume, public speaking and being confident and poised on stage. My confidence and sense of self has skyrocketed, and I’ve met girls from across the country that are now some of my best friends. The sisterhood within pageantry is my favorite part,” Anna said.
Inspired by her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, Anna uses her platform to spread breast cancer awareness and emphasize early detection and prevention measures. As Miss Florida Teen, her goal is to raise $2,500 to help fund research for a cure to the disease. In addition, she loves having the opportunity to encourage young women to pursue pathways to leadership across Florida. Reflecting on her role as Miss Florida Teen, Anna said, “I want to leave a legacy of kindness and service.”
Competing for Miss Florida Teen 2017 was an arduous but humbling journey for Anna: “I competed for four years before I won Miss Florida Teen, and it was so worth the wait… National American Miss has four main areas of competition at the state level: Community Involvement, Formal Wear, Personal Introduction and Interview. To prepare, I worked with my coach on perfecting my walk and manner of speaking. I also practiced lots of mock interview questions. Additionally, I made sure that I was getting more involved with my community and leading by example in that way,” she said.
The Ocala, Florida, resident loves FLVS because it provides her with the opportunity to arrange her demanding schedule as she needs to.
“I am able to balance my dance schedule, volunteering, platform work, as well as my life as Miss Florida Teen!” she says. Her favorite class is AP English Language & Composition, and she is the President of FLVS’ chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, alongside being a member of Module U.N. and the National English Honor Society.
Using her skills she has learned as Miss Florida Teen 2017, Anna aspires to graduate from George Washington University with a degree in political communications in hopes of pursuing a career in public service. She said, “I would love to hold office one day, maybe as a state senator. Being Miss Florida Teen is providing me with an amazing stepping stone to that future career, as it is my first trial as a public figure!”
FLVS student Anna Ross hopes to change the world through her work spreading awareness and raising money for breast cancer research while also encouraging young women to pursue pathways to leadership. As the years go on, she hopes to continue her legacy, but always likes to remember,”It’s God’s plan, I’m just along for the ride.”