Deployed mother watches daughter win pageant
By Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Written and posted by the base public affairs department.
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — While deployed, Senior Master Sgt. Lenora Tiek, 20th Communications Squadron programs flight chief, was able to witness her daughter, Alexandra, compete in the 2013 South Carolina National American Miss Pageant in the pre-teen division, held in Columbia, S.C., June 14 and 15.
At the pageant, Alexandra earned the prestigious title Miss South Carolina Pre-teen and qualified to compete at the national level which is scheduled to take place in Anaheim, Calif., in November.
Alexandra also received top honors for most photogenic and promising model in her division.
Unfortunately, her mother couldn’t physically attend the event due to her deployment at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. She is currently assigned with the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron as the unit’s chief enlisted manager. However, with technology being what it is, Lenora was able to watch the entire competition through Face Time.
“I was just as excited and nervous as if I was sitting right there,” Tiek said. “Thank goodness for Apple and the morale network. It was not the same as being there, but I was thankful to have the opportunity to watch. I was up at 3:15 a.m. and it was worth every waking moment!”
Morale network is free wireless internet that is provided to deployed service members to increase and maintain morale.
During the entire competition, Alexandra was unaware that her mother was watching her perform.
“I was totally surprised and ecstatic,” Alexandra said. “I didn’t know that was possible. I was so happy to see her. It meant a lot to me. I miss her terribly.”
Chief Master Sgt. Jason Tiek, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Tiger Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent and Alexandra’s father, didn’t tell her because he didn’t want to make her nervous or get her hopes up in case it didn’t work, Jason said.
At the end of the competition when she received her crown, Alexandra also received the phone with her mother who was on Face Time.
“When my dad handed me the phone while I was standing with all the other girls that won my mother told me she was very proud of me and couldn’t wait to see me,” Alexandra said.
“This is an amazing moment in her life,” Lenora said. “I am proud of her and her accomplishments. This was something that she worked very hard towards.”
Tiek left for Afghanistan at the end of April which was when Alexandra began preparing for the competition. For about two months, Alexandra prepared with the assistance of her family and spent approximately an hour every night practicing.
“We rehearsed a lot,” Alexandra said.
Some of her practice included walking as if she was on stage, reciting the two commercials she was going to perform for the actress event, and reciting her introduction.
Despite being about 7,500 miles away, Tiek still supported her daughter. Every Sunday she would Face Time with Alexandra and they would practice her entire performance for at least half an hour.
“Having her practice with me (through Face Time) definitely helped a lot,” Alexandra said.
Though Tiek supported her daughter by helping her practice, she also tried not to be a distraction. Instead, she relied on her husband to take over her usual roles, like regularly running through the interview questions and introduction, practicing proper posture and how to communicate effectively, and doing Alexandra’s hair.
“I tried to not bother my husband and daughter while the pageant was going on,” Tiek said. “I made lists and prepped them both before I left and before they headed to the pageant. I had to trust that they were ready and they were. I just needed to stay out of the way and let them do their thing. The pageant runs a tight schedule and sometimes there are quick changes, so I definitely didn’t want my e-mails or face time interruptions get in the way. It was hard but I knew it was best.”
The experience of having her mother deployed during the competition taught Alexandra important lessons and helped her grow.
“It helped her become more self-dependent and self-reliant,” Jason said.
In addition to becoming more independent, participating in pageants helped Alexandra grow in other ways.
“Pageants are very fun,” Alexandra said. “They turn me into a leader, increase my confidence and (give me the chance) to make new friends.”
The National American Miss Pageants are dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders which is why the winners are not chosen based on beauty.
“The pageant doesn’t judge you on your beauty,” said Alexandra. “It judges you on your poise, your confidence, and how you stand and represent yourself.”
The program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise and presentation. Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning new skills, learning positive attitudes about competition, as well as setting and achieving goals.
“This pageant is not like what you see on Toddler’s and Tiara’s,” Tiek said. “She is not allowed to wear make-up. It is all based on how she presents herself, speaks in front of a crowd and (performs during) interviews with multiple judges. National American Miss is preparing our daughter for college and her future.”
Tiek is scheduled to return home before her daughter competes at a national level in California. However, when Alexandra competes for the 2013 National American Miss, she might once again have one of her parents deployed, as Jason is scheduled to deploy during that same time frame.
© 2013 Microsoft
English (United States)