There is a queen on campus.
In her first pageant competition last summer, first-year aspiring nurse Jada Schutt earned her Miss Rockingham County Fair Queen 2021 title.
And in her second pageant, she earned more honors: In early January, Schutt joined the court of the 2022 Miss Virginia Association of Fairs with her fourth-runner up finish among a field of 23 contestants representing fairs and festivals throughout the state. (Pageant winner Torrie Shifflett, Miss Franklin County Agricultural Fair, is a senior at Bridgewater College.)
Pageant contestants are judged in four categories: community engagement (20 percent), evening gown competition (20 percent), personality wear (20 percent), and the private interview (40 percent), which highlights public speaking ability, poise, personal achievement in education, and civic and community participation.
Schutt’s platform is titled “All Words Should Be Heard,” and it aims to “promote accessibility, education, and inclusion for the hearing impaired community,” Schutt says. This cause is personal – Schutt experiences hearing loss herself. “I want to work to get more hearing screenings in schools, education in the area of mental health issues that often arise from hearing loss, as well as resources such as American Sign Language.”
While Schutt comes from a family that has been involved with pageants before, she did not participate herself until this past summer. She became interested because of the ability to promote her platform, the pageant’s scholarship opportunity, and the fact that it “produces successful and well-rounded women,” she says. “Most people are under the assumption that pageants only judge what’s on the surface, which isn’t the case.”
The Stanley, Virginia, native and 2021 Page County High graduate says her plan to become a nurse comes from personal experience: “I was born prematurely and spent lots of time in the NICU. Growing up, my mom would always tell me stories about my nurse, who was named Naomi, and how amazing she was.”
Schutt was also influenced by Rachel Talbot, her dermatology nurse practitioner. “She was always so kind and you could tell how much she cared about her patients,” Schutt says. “She was the first person that I had told about the issues with my ears and the reason we discovered I had hearing loss.”
While the kindness and dedication of these nurses inspired Schutt, her own values played a large role in the decision to pursue nursing. “I have a heart to serve others and am passionate about medicine. Nurses are like our modern day superheroes—who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”