Saint Mary’s student crowned Miss Great Lakes
Maria Leontaras | Friday, September 21, 2018
Saint Mary’s junior Amanda Fischer wouldn’t be where she was today without pageants.
Fischer was crowned Miss Great Lakes at the beginning of September, and is now working towards winning the title of Miss Indiana. She first began competing in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant program when she was 13. Fischer said these pageants have provided her with countless opportunities, including discovering Saint Mary’s.
“I was downstate [in Michigan] doing some community service work at an apple blossom festival in Niles, Michigan, that happens at the end of September,” Fischer said. “I was helping out with the fair and the parade and all that fun stuff. That weekend, I told [my pageant director] that I needed to go to Mass somewhere, and she said, ‘Oh, I’ll just take you to Notre Dame.’ … I knew nothing. … Long story short, I fell in love with the campuses, so here I am. It was all meant to be.”
After a semester abroad, Fischer said she was unsure about competing in the Miss Great Lakes competition, but due to a large amount of free time in the summer, she decided to go for it. Despite her busy schedule, Fischer said she is eager to complete her duties as an advocate.
“The national platform for the Miss America Organization is the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals,” she said. “I’m an advocate and spokesperson for Children’s Miracle Network. For the remainder of my year, and on campus, I’m still waiting to hear back to see if I’m on the morale committee for Dance Marathon because Dance Marathon is affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network. It’s all connected. That’s one of the things I’m doing, just raising money in general for that at a variety of locations, like free ice cream cone day and all that jazz.”
The Miss America Organization recently underwent a change in leadership that has led to a change in the competition that some see as controversial, Fischer said. The Organization has replaced the swimsuit competition with time for contestants to give a social impact initiative statement.
Fischer said her social impact initiative is Eye to Eye, a mentorship and arts based curriculum for students with attention and learning deficits.
“I’m currently in the process of starting my own chapter here at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame,” she said. “We’re going to try and partner with both of the campuses, so we can have more mentorship and co-ed mentorship to really cater to more students because that’s really what it’s about.”
Fischer said the new initiative provides contestants with an avenue to make a change and is combating the pageant girl stereotype.
“The new leadership of the Miss America Organization are trying to show the public that we’re way more than just a pretty face with a crown and sash on,” Fischer said. “We are actively involved in our communities, really striving to socially impact everyone around us. It’s extremely empowering, much like Saint Mary’s, actually. It empowers every contestant to find their voice. I’ve come full circle, and I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at.”
Another of Fischer’s responsibilities as Miss Great Lakes is to make appearances at community events like Girls on the Run activities and the South Bend Christmas tree lighting. She said meeting people is one of the best parts of the job.
“I always love when little girls come up to me and ask me to take a picture with them,” Fischer said. “I talk to them about following their dreams and be that bright light. What I really strive to be is the Miss America in this community.”