Sophomore places first in pageant despite obstacles


Contributed photo

Sophomore Kaitlyn Klampert won the title International United Miss Connecticut Junior Teen. She will go on to compete for the title International United Miss Junior Teen in Galloway, N.J. July 14 -20.

Jenna Coladarci, Staff Writer

Sophomore Kaitlyn Klampert decided nothing would stand in her way at her achieving her life goals. She survived through a surgery for Cerebral Palsy that made her have to learn how to walk all over again, and now she will compete for the title of International United Miss Junior Teen.

The Diagnosis

At a young age, Klampert was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. It is neurological condition that permanently affects muscle control and coordination. People with this condition have increased muscle tone, which leads to stiff or tight muscles.

Once she was 8, her parents told her of a surgery to treat this condition and that she would have the opportunity to be treated. She underwent heel, cord, and hamstring lengthening at Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass. The surgery would improve her ability to walk and move independently.

The surgery was a big event in her life. Most of her family was right with her to show their love and support.

The process was long and painful, but she doesn’t regret it at all. “Right when I woke up after the surgery in the hospital I was in excruciating amounts of pain. Then I had to spend six months in recovery in a wheelchair and wearing leg braces while I learned how to walk again. However, the thought that I was on a journey to recover pushed me to get through it all,” Klampert said.

Klampert is thankful that Shriners Hospital was able to perform the procedure. “I am thankful they were able to do the surgery because I know that not all types of Cerebral Palsy can be treated by surgery.”

Klampert is now a Shriners Ambassador and returns to visit the hospital regularly. She helps to plan fundraisers and events at the hospital. Recently she helped plan a Chili Cook Off Fundraiser and she is already beginning to formulate ideas for the next fundraiser. Because of her work there, she already has more than 500 community service hours as a sophomore.

The Pageant

One day Klampert received an invitation in the mail inviting her to compete in the National American Miss Pageant. It was anonymous and didn’t include a name. Klampert’s mother did research on it and verified that it was an authentic competition.

“I was kind of shocked because I wasn’t expecting it. To this day we still don’t know who the invitation was from. I was excited though because I was about to try something new,” Klampert said.

At 10, Klampert decided to enter the pageant. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to go on to compete in other pageants. Recently, Klampert competed in International United Miss Connecticut where she won the title International United Miss Connecticut Junior Teen.

“Me and four other girls stood waiting as they called each runner up,” she recalled They started by announcing the girl that placed fifth and eventually they called the girl who had placed second. Before, they called my name I realized that I was the only one that they had not called yet, and there was only one place left and that was first.”

Klampert will go on to compete for the title of International United Miss Junior Teen from July 14 – 20 in Galloway, N.J. This pageant and organization means much to Klampert. “There’s a bunch of organizations out there but this one is amazing because they care so much about the girls. It’s not about your beauty, but about who you are as a person,” said Klampert.

If she wins she will get prizes such as a rhinestone trimmed satin embroidered sash, a flower bouquet, a crown, a crown case, a cash award of $1,000, a trip to Washington D.C, New York City, and Walt Disney World.

The week will consist of several rounds. One of the rounds is called introductions, where contestants stand in front of an audience and they get 30-40 seconds to tell the audience their name, where they’re form, and any other information about them.

There is a round called the interview round. Contestants will be interviewed and asked more in depth questions about what they said during their introduction.

Another round is the high-fashion wear. Contestants are given the opportunity to wear whatever they want and model for the audience.

Lastly, there is a round called formal wear. Contestants wear a dress or suit that makes them feel confident. The dress can be whatever length the contestant chooses, as long as they feel comfortable in it.

Klampert’s favorite round is the introduction round. “I enter the round with a confident mindset so while I’m giving my introduction I am laid back and ready to perform.”

There’s a lot of work that goes into competing in this pageant and Klampert is already getting prepared for July. She is doing things such as picking out an outfit for each round, writing her introduction, and memorizing it.

The Community’s Response

Klampert’s friends are very proud of her and all the successes she has had so far.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Snow has been friends with Klampert ever since they met at a summer camp in fourth grade. “I am proud of Kaitlyn because she is confident in the things that she does and doesn’t let things get in her way. She is also a good friend because she is supportive in what I am doing and encourages me to do the right things,” Snow said.

Sophomore Melody Barz has known Klampert since sixth grade. They met at Westside Middle School Academy where they starred in the production of “Aladdin Junior” together.

“I’m proud of Kaitlyn because of everything that she is able to do. Between high school and her personal life including parents, she’s got a lot going for her. I’m also proud of her just for the fact that she hasn’t changed into the typical high school snob. She stays true to herself which is quite difficult to do,” Barz said.

Klampert likes to keep very busy outside of school work. Besides volunteering at Shriners Hospital, she is in  Girl Scouts, involved in theater at DHS, and in the summer she is a counselor in training at the YMCA in Brookfield. She also does more volunteering at places like Ben’s Bells in Bethel and Ann’s Place in Danbury.

Klampert’s favorite class at DHS is English. “I like the new techniques I learn in English class because they help me put my thoughts and experiences into words.”

Klampert already knows what career path she wants to pursue. “I want to be an entertainment lawyer. I was exposed to this career because many of my family members are also lawyers.”

Overall, Klampert wants people to take away from her story that, “If you set your mind to something you can do anything. While people may think pageants are about wearing crowns and sashes, it isn’t. It’s about the title and what you do with it.”