Oklahoma City, OK – Oklahoma City’s Evelyn Smith’s summer will be anything but typical. Friday, June 9, Evelyn was crowned Miss Oklahoma’s Outstanding Teen 2017, a competition open statewide to teens across Oklahoma. An accomplished dancer, Smith wowed the judges and audience at ORU’s Mabee Center while performing a lyrical dance to “Rise Up.” 16-year-old Smith is a junior at Odyssey Leadership Academy, and plans to become a Civil Engineer. She is the daughter of Dana Carter.
Life has presented many challenges for Smith. Being raised as an overcomer led her to find a platform that would help her empower others: FEMA’s Ready Kids. It provides real world scenarios to teach young people what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Children comprise about 25 percent of our population, and according to FEMA, “disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts needs to take into account their unique needs.” In addition to teaching emergency preparedness, the program helps children develop real world life skills, such as problem solving, teamwork, creativity, leadership, and communication. “Emergencies don’t consider your age before they happen, which is why we need Ready Kids in every school. My goal is to help young people prepare themselves for life’s challenges and disasters, while equipping them with essential skills that can help them succeed every day,” Smith explains.
Smith is the first African American to capture the teen title in the 14 year history of the program, and she is excited to share a message of inclusion and diversity, along with her platform as she speaks to Oklahoman’s around the state. “My peers are faced with so many pressures that make them want to be like someone else. I wanted to win for all the quirky kids like me, so they knew that being themselves was more than enough!”
The Oklahoma state pageant is a preliminary to Miss America, an organization known for a long history of providing scholarships and performance opportunities to accomplished 13 to 24-year-olds, in the Miss and Teen divisions. She will be busy preparing for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, which will be held in July in Orlando, FL. And hopes to bring the coveted national crown to Oklahoma for back to back wins. The reigning Miss America’s Outstanding Teen is Edmond’s own Nicole Jia.