Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Laura's blog is on a break until at least May 6, 2008

This break allows the author to complete final school work, prepare for college graduation, complete Miss Virginia paperwork, begin a new second job, finish her 90-page American Culture journal, and enjoy her last two weeks on campus with friends!

Please be patient and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clinton is still in!

I have really slacked off in blogging, but with good reason. I have two days left of undergraduate classes! Ahhh! My senior economics presentation is tomorrow (What's wrong with the Midwest? Determinants of the foreclosure rate in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana) and then I am off for finishing up this Miss Virginia paperwork!

As usual, the last few weeks of school have been full of final awards ceremonies, last meetings, and final parties. I can't believe I'm almost done. Since my schedule has been full, it was obvious that I wouldn't focus on keeping people updated recently and instead focus on enjoying my last few weeks and finishing up college. There are lots of exciting updates, which I expect to be able to write about next week, but for now, I wanted to report that Clinton is still in! I will be keeping my personal preferences about the presidency private at present (although you can tell which team I'm rooting for!) but I'm proud to see not just a woman, but a woman's college graduate in serious contention for the American presidency.

This election is going to be an exciting one!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Casino Night photos

Friday night was Casino Night for all the seniors, where we are given fake chips and play at tables manned by faculty dealers. It's a lot of fun and how we kick off "Senior Dinner Dance" weekend. It's an official last hurrah for all of us graduating. I've included a few pictures.


I saw Abby's blog this morning with the Miss Ohio line up, and I remembered that I never posted the Miss VA lineup that we picked at workshop on the 5th! So here it is! I will post the second group later.

Group 1:
1. Hampton University- Tap
2. Greater Springfield- Irish Step Dance
3. Mountain Empire- Dance
4. Norfolk- Vocal
5. Lonesome Pine- Dance
6. Chesterfield- Vocal
7. Capital Region- Vocal
8. Hampton Roads- Vocal
9. Lynchburg- Vocal
10. Hampton Newport-News Vocal
11. Apple Blossom- Tap dance
12. Williamsburg- Dance
13. Commonwealth- me!-tap dance

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Miss USA pictures

Calling the runner ups
Rachel Smith
The stage from the back of the theater
Former Miss Texas Teen USA in the lobby.

From Dean Coulter

In lieu of my own explanation at the present, I would like to post on here Dean Coulter's response to one of our stops on our trip this last week. This particular stop was the last one planned; the news reports that we went to Las Vegas for this purpose are absurd. At present, I have been traveling for 36 hours and need some sleep to be able to tackle all my work this week, but I wanted to post Dean Coulter's response to a story blown out of proportion.

Underneath is our syllabus for the semester.

You can find the information in this link.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Quick Update

Tonight I returned from our 8 day trip to Las Vegas. We had over 15 stops on our entire trip, and it was an exhausting week for all of us. We didn't get our itineraries until a few days before flying; I was so busy with Miss Commonwealth and the Miss Virginia workshop I flew to Nevada not really knowing what I'd be doing (I flew without any pairs of heels! I didn't expect to be seeing Miss USA!) It was extremely busy and fun but I am glad to be back. I have even more work ahead of me now, but there is lots to tell about our trip!
Like I said, we made many stops, but for me the most exciting was seeing Miss USA live. I even took a few pictures at the end of the show. I also watched parts of the telecast later that evening as I was packing, and it was interesting to see how different the live show and the telecast were, although I have to say Texas was my pick from the introductions forward- I, along with most of the entire audience, felt that it was her night!

Okay, I've got to get some sleep and readjust to the time difference!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I have been so incredibly busy since arriving in Vegas; by the time we finish each day I am exhausted. The three hour time difference has made all those phone calls I really need to make nearly impossible, but I wanted to make a quick post so I can cross something else off my to-do list.

Since winning Miss Commonwealth means I'll be headed to Miss Virginia, I'll be raising money for Children's Miracle Network in addition to fundraising for my personal wardrobe. I'm including information here for both; if you can help me I would really appreciate it!

Please visit my CMN page here to help me raise more money!

Please email me at misslaurapennington@yahoo.com if you would like to help me out preparing for Miss Virginia. This week-long event requires a great amount of clothing and as many of you know, I am a college student! I could certainly use some help. If you contact me, I'd be happy to provide you with more information about how to help sponsor me for Miss Virginia.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I'm going to Miss Virginia!!

How can I ever hope to explain what this past weekend was like? A whirlwind? Crazy? A little overwhelming?

The entire week leading up to the pageant I didn’t allow myself to think one negative thought. I was so lucky because my inbox was full of encouraging emails from people all over wishing me lucky; my voicemail each day had a nice message from somebody. It seemed like a lot of people were pulling for me, and that really helped boost my confidence for Friday night.

For whatever reason, it seems to be my “thing” that things come at the last minute. Randolph-Macon, Virginia Tech, Miss Commonwealth

Friday was really wonderful. I told myself all year “don’t cry if you win, it will probably look ridiculous and dramatic in pictures”. But I couldn’t help it come Friday night, when I heard my name called I just started shaking right away. I felt like my knees were going to give out as Hannah pinned the crown to my head. Julius was trying to take pictures as my eyes got redder by the minute from tears. All in all, it was a wonderful experience. It was so rewarding to finally experience that moment that I have seen so many others achieve- and it is now easy to understand why it is so special for each person. It’s a big achievement and one filled with excitement. I guess the 11th time is the charm.

I am obviously excited, although it really only set in this morning as I was driving to North Carolina to fly to Vegas. Even after the pageant, I felt like it wasn’t real; some friends came and were taking pictures, but it didn’t really set in that I was really going to Miss Virginia. My roommate in England was there squealing and taking photos and it just didn’t feel quite real!

Even the next morning, as I found myself among 25 women who seemed totally prepared to go to Miss Virginia, I felt like an onlooker. It was overwhelming at the workshop. Thank goodness the Miss Commonwealth director, Jimmy, kept making me laugh because the other half of me was freezing up in fear of trying to accomplish so much in so little time.

Now that I am sitting in the Greensboro airport typing up ideas and paperwork, it finally feels real. I told the judges in my interview that I was confident that I could make the most of this title between now and Miss Virginia; now the “overwhelming” feeling has subsided to a strange calm- I feel totally capable of doing this. It will be difficult, but no more challenging a feat than some other things I have come up against. I know I can handle this, and I have more excitement than I could have imagined- that combination of determination and excitement has pushed me through all year and I’m going to need it between now and June.

It will certainly be challenging but I am up to the challenge!

There have been SO many people who have refused to let me give up even in those moments I felt like doing so. I could never hope to thank everyone who made a suggestion, helped me along to a change, encouraged me, and let me know they believed in me- you are great in number and I appreciate you all more than I can explain. Having such a huge support system always gives me that extra push I need to do my best.

Now on to the exciting news! I think the Miss Virginia production is going to be incredible this year. They are making it very “viewer friendly” with the opportunity to allow the public to get to know the contestants more during the Saturday night telecast than ever before. Of course, this means more work to do for the contestants, but I think it will allow more people to feel like they know the girls and the woman chosen as Miss Virginia. It manages to capture the exciting parts about Miss America this year while keeping the glamour that we love.

The most rewarding part of the workshop yesterday was truly listening to Hannah speak about her experience as Miss Virginia. Everything she said really resonated with me and confirmed that I am following my dream; her speech gave me the motivation to keep accepting all the papers they were handing out and the outfits they were listing that we needed to find! I am also really excited about the contestant lottery; I’ll be performing last in each category, with talent on Thursday night and the other categories on Friday. My roommate is Miss Virginia Beach, Shannon, and she seems like a real sweetheart.

When I know more I’ll share about the 11th contestant to be chosen as the people’s choice by internet voting. I’m counting on my broad reader base to click on my name come June!

So, my life is going to be crazy. I told my mother before this weekend that I would have a lot on my plate if this worked out, and I certainly do. Someone last week told me that April is always the worst month of the year; history has filled the month with bad memories. For me, however, I’ll be thrilled with April 2008. I’ve been given the opportunity to pursue two of my dreams. I’m so excited that at times I feel like I could burst. I’ll be competing in a pageant then beginning graduate school in the fall- both of my interests seem to have met and aligned themselves, making for a very exciting time.

More updates soon!

Viva Las Vegas!

I'm off this morning to North Carolina to fly to Vegas for a week-long trip with the American Culture program, and I'm really excited. I woke up for a third time at 5:30 AM (at least my body seems to be used to it) and packed all of my things (in one suitcase, can you believe it?).

Yesterday was pretty hectic but overall really exciting. It still has not sunk in that I'm actually going to Miss Virginia, despite the new crown and banner in my possession and all the paperwork. Needless to say, I believe this year's production of Miss Virginia is going to be amazing- from what I heard yesterday, there will be a lot of changes that seem to reflect the good from this year's Miss America telecast- getting to know the contestants more personally, etc.

The most exciting part is that an 11th semi-finalist will be chosen by internet voting... the emcee will not announce which contestant was chosen as the people's choice but she will compete with the rest of the top 10 to get closer to the Miss Virginia title! More details to follow, but I think this is a great way to give another girl a chance to compete on final night!

Alright, off to Vegas!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Good news

Well, I write with the good news that I won Miss Commonwealth last night. Needless to say I'm very excited but also overwhelmed at the moment from the workshop. I have so much to do!

I will write a much longer post later, likely when I return from Nevada. Thankfully two of our three hotels have free wireless; I'll be constant communication working on my paperwork as well as my senior paper. Hopefully I'll take a break from working to write a blog!


Friday, April 4, 2008

Prayers please

I'd like to ask for prayers please for two of us. Today I am competing in my last Virginia pageant of the year, so please just pray that I remain calm and that I'm able to do my best tonight no matter the outcome. I will need to be calm to make it through these next three days!

More importantly, please pray for my little brother, Doug, who has not been feeling well at all and had a hospital visit yesterday. They are still trying to figure out what is wrong with him and what he is sick with, but I know he's not able to eat solid food by doctor's orders (this is never good for a soon to be 13 year old boy...) and I wanted to ask that everyone think of him today and over the next few days.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Patience please!

Hello faithful readers!

I ask for patience in the next ten days as I embark on a flurry of activity that will more often than not be away from a computer.

Next Sunday I will leave on the weeklong American Culture Program trip to Las Vegas. I'm also gearing up for my senior economics presentation and graduation, so life is extremely busy and I will blog when I can, but no guarantees!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


(No April Fool's from me today, although Dr. Rodriguez tried to convince us that the RC administration had cancelled our trip to Vegas. No one bought it.)

Please visit the site of fellow blogger Abby, who has addressed the issue of Samantha Eggers becoming the new Miss Open City. It's good to have this issue finally cleared up!