Kennedy Olson
“It’s important for me to help other people so they can help their country,” said Kennedy Olson, 6. Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Next month, Oro Valley resident Kennedy Olson, 6, will head to Scottsdale to compete as a state finalist in the National American Miss Arizona pageant.

Kennedy will be competing in the princess age division.

Kennedy, who will be entering first grade next year at Painted Sky Elementary, likes to play softball, soccer, ride bikes, swim, sing and dance.

The uniqueness of this pageant appealed to Kennedy and her parents, Jon and Tori Olson.

“It’s age appropriate,” Tori said. “There’s no makeup allowed for any child under the age of 12. And it is supposed to be for public speaking and for leadership skills.”

Jon feels the same way about the pageant.

“I know how tough it was for me to cut my fears,” Jon said. “And with her not having any stage fright at such a young age, we obviously want to push that forward on building her character and her self-esteem.”

The pageant program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise and presentation. The pageant emphasizes the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning good sportsmanship and setting and achieving personal goals.

“Since she was real little, she has gotten up on stage and sang,” Tori said. “She works hard at whatever she does.”

The winner of the National American Miss Arizona pageant will receive $1,000 cash, the official crown and banner, a trophy, and the transportation and sponsor fees paid to compete in the national pageant in California. There, all of the state winners will get a free Tour of Hollywood and two free tickets to Disneyland.

Kennedy said she plans to donate a portion of any money she wins to the victims of the tornado in Joplin, Mo., or to the victims of the tsunami in Japan.

“It’s important for me to help other people so they can help their country,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said she also likes helping people around her school who are getting bullied or also might need help with their schoolwork.

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