20190807_bl_jaydaturner

Jayda Turner, a seventh-grader from Bellevue, was named Nebraska Preteen National Teenager in July. She will compete in nationals in November in Tampa, Fla.

In her first pageant experience, Jayda Turner took home the win and is headed to Tampa, Fla.

Jayda competed in the 2019 Nebraska Preteen National Teenager July 14 in Papillion, winning first place in the ages 10 to 12 division. She will represent Nebraska in November at the national competition.

The pageant, Jayda said, focuses on academics and community involvement, rather than beauty.

“We go and do community service and get to know each other,” she said.

At the pageant, competitors model twice, interview with judges and have the option to perform a talent. Jayda twirled baton for her talent portion since she’s a member of the twirling team Sue’s Stepper-ettes.

“I was very excited,” Jayda said of winning the competition. “When I was going into the pageant, I didn’t know if I would win, because it was my first. But I knew I was going to try my best and if I didn’t win, it was OK.”

Along with pageantry, Jayda was also highly involved in her elementary school, Two Springs, and the community. She was a yearbook member, sixth-grade band member and was in Hope Squad and student council.

Around the community, Jayda rings the bells for the Salvation Army and collects items for local food pantries and the homeless.

“I do a lot at church, like Trunk or Treat, whenever they want a performer, I’ll go and perform for them,” she said.

One thing Jayda has learned from pageants is combating her shyness.

“It’s taught me to open up and I know how to talk to people a little better now,” she said.

Jayda said she’s excited to continue her pageantry after a successful first run with the America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization.

“”I’m just still starting so I’m going to get the feel of what other pageants are before going to bigger pageants, but my goal is to go on to Miss Teen Nebraska and pageants like that,” she said.

“I think it was a really good experience to have.”

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.