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Preparing for a pageant

Liz Galt loves to meet people. She is a people-person … always looking for a way to make sure people see the ability of each and every individual.

Galt, 23, a 2012 Farmington High School graduate, doesn’t let her autism diagnosis stand in the way of sharing her story of living with autism and the challenges she’s faced and overcome.

In November of last year, Galt’s hard worked paid off as she was crowned “Miss Amazing Missouri” in the Jr. Division of the Miss Amazing pageant.

Now, she is preparing to participate in the National Miss Amazing pageant on Aug. 4-9 in Chicago.

“I will be competing against 180 girls from 30 different states that have disabilities,” said Galt, who turns 24 at the end of the month. “It’s really exciting … I’m really nervous.”

According to the pageant website, missamazing.org, the pageant was started in 2007 in Omaha, Nebraska by Jordan Somer. At that time, Somer was a 13 year old and “just another kid who loved volunteering with the Special Olympics.” The first pageant was held in November of 2007 and is now held in 30 states.

There are five age divisions in the pageant – Pre-teen, Teen, Jr. Miss, Miss, and Senior Miss. Galt is representing the state in the Jr. Miss division.

The pageant involves a talent and interview portion. Galt found out about the pageant through an online search for events of this type.

“It’s really a great opportunity, (a) really exciting thing to do,” she said. “I don’t know anyone in Farmington that’s ever (participated) in a disability pageant.

“(The pageant) is a really good opportunity for girls with disabilities to be able to do something just like any other girl would enjoy.”

Participating in the pageant was a natural fit for Galt’s personality.

“I’m very outgoing and very outspoken and I like to do things other people do,” she said. “I really like to do stuff other people want to do … I’m just a normal person just like anybody else except there’s a difference in me which there is a difference in everybody.

“People shouldn’t judge by the way you talk or think … any of that.”

She has a special talent prepared for the evening – reciting the alphabet in reverse and spelling out complicated sentences in reverse as well.

Galt is also getting her wardrobe ready for the big event – from picking out her dress and preparing to have her hair and makeup ready.

“This month is quickly going by fast,” she said, adding the preparations make her nervous the closer the date gets to her trip.

But there is one area in which Galt feels comfortable – that’s when she speaks to others about what it is like to live with autism.

“I like educating people about autism because I just want them to understand about people with autism,” she said. “They (react) to different things than other people … for example, dealing with change. Some people may say ‘that’s easy to deal with,’ but not for us.

“Once is sticks in our heads it sticks in our heads like a routine, a calendar, like a photo book. When it changes, it’s like a computer typing in your head … all these multiple choice questions in your head and you want to pick the right one … like a test in your head.”

Galt has been raising money for the national competition since begin crowned Junior Miss Amazing.

“I’ve saved money on my own because I really like budgeting,” she said. “We had to do a fundraiser page online and I was excited because my fundraising page raised about $2,600 and that was really helpful.

“I want to say thank you to the community, friends, family and anonymous donors for donating to such a great cause, because I didn’t think I would be able to do it.

“I’m lucky to have a great support system – friends, family and the community.”

More information on the Miss Amazing pageants can be found at www.missamazing.org.

Liz Galt, 23, is preparing for her trip to the national Miss Amazing pageant on Aug. 4-6 in Chicago. Galt will be competing in the Jr. Miss division of the pageant.

Liz Galt, 23, is preparing for her trip to the national Miss Amazing pageant on Aug. 4-6 in Chicago. Galt will be competing in the Jr. Miss division of the pageant.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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