July 14, 2010

White House lunch and a quick sit in President's chair
highlight Racine pageant winner's summer tour

Jeanette Morelan of Racine, Miss America's Outstanding Teen, at the White House

What does it mean to win a beauty pageant?

Well, there's the princess crown, of course, and the scholarship money.

But as Jeanette Morelan of Racine found out, there's so very much more -- including singing on a float in Washington, DC's, Fourth of July parade, lunch at the White House mess, even a chance to sit in the President's chair in the White House Situation Room -- just a few minutes before President Obama was scheduled to arrive.

Jeanette, a Mount Pleasant 15-year-old, won the Miss Wisconsin Outstanding Teen pageant in Oshkosh last July, and the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando last August -- taking home $30,000 in scholarships and other prizes.  The daughter of Dr. Robert and Helen Morelan -- dad is superintendent of the 21st Century Preparatory School here -- she told us last summer that she plans to become President of the United States in 2040.

A three-week tour this summer included appearances at this year's Miss Wisconsin Outstanting Teen Pageant in Oshkosh  (at which she fell and badly bruised her knee, but the show went on!); the Forward 2010 teen leadership conference in Atlanta; a photoshoot in Orlando; and performing "Party in the USA" on a Showboat float during the capital's 4th of July parade, and singing "America the Beautiful" at the finale.

And her second visit to the White House, as the guest of Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon, director of the Executive Residence and White House Chief Usher.

Here's an excerpt from Jeanette's blog about that visit:
 I was so excited to see the Admiral again!! We started by going one place that we never did on our tour…his office! The Admiral’s office was incredible. You wouldn’t believe what kind of things he had in there! A rosary from the Pope, challenge coins from dignitaries from all across the world.

And also… three more chairs. Picture what I did when I found out that I was sitting in the chairs of FDR, Winston Churchill and Bill Clinton! I could hardly believe what I was doing! The Admiral also had some gifts; for me, he brought a set of presidential pens… the personal pens of the last seven presidents in office. I could hardly believe my eyes! It meant the world to me that the Admiral would think of something like that, especially for a future President.

We went down to the White House mess for lunch. It was SO nice. Lunch was fabulous, and I had the White House signature dessert  -- a molten chocolate cupcake with vanilla ice cream. It was amazing. Now I’ve got one more reason to take on the White House in 2040 – great food  ;)
After lunch, we went somewhere I never imagined….the Situation Room....the series of meeting rooms in which our nation is run. There was a meeting scheduled in half an hour with the President, but we still had time to look around. And….in the Situation room….I sat in the President’s chair!!!! Right before the meeting! To the back of me was the Presidential seal, to my left was the seat of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and then many more chairs of people who are the reason our country is up and running….it was incredible.

Before we left, I said a little prayer…that someday, somehow, I would sit in that chair again, as President of the United States of America.
Read more of Jeanette's blog, and see more pictures from her trip, here.