Interview with Michelle Lapides
Amy: Congratulations, Michelle! You are now the new 2008 Miss Deaf America. How do you feel about receiving this special honor tonight?
Michelle: It’s a huge honor. How I feel right now… It all is surreal. Everything is surreal. I still wonder to myself: Is this real? Am I still dreaming? Wow. Amazing. This is a dream I’ve always wanted to accomplish since I was 3 years old. Now, here I am, and it came true. Wow. Explaining how I feel… just one word: surreal.
Amy: Let me tell you… it’s real. It’s not a dream. It’s real.
Michelle: Yes, my dream came true today.
Amy: Michelle, you’re now a new NAD youth leader. For the next two years, how can you bring more young leaders into NAD?
Michelle: I am proud to say that I am a new representative, a new leader for the NAD. So, how can I bring more leaders into NAD? By developing more media recognition, like vlogs for example. This will draw a lot of young people. One of today’s hot topics is Facebook, and this is a good networking opportunity. So, we should use it to our advantage. In doing so will attract young people eventually.
Amy: Wake up. This is reality. It’s all true.
Michelle Lapides of Maryland was coronated NAD Miss Deaf America 2008-2010 this evening. She will proudly wear the tiara for the next two years as she journeys across the country on behalf of the NAD to inspire young deaf leaders. The six finalists, from Washington, DC, Maryland, Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, provided an entertaining competition during the suspense-filled Finals. The first runner up was Katherine Murch, Miss Deaf Texas and the second runner up was JoAnn Benfield, Miss Deaf Missouri.
The platform presentations for all of the finalists covered deaf education. Each contestant provided different takes on the current system and provided several ideas on how to tackle this thorny problem. The current Miss Deaf Amercia, Chelsea Tobin performed her talent, “Dr. Seuss ASLized” as MDA for the last time.
During the “artistic expression” (formerly known as the talent competition), entertaining stories were shared. One contestant provided a lively dance and another taught the audience how to defend oneself from an attacker. Lapides performed a heartfelt story about a woman reminiscing about her loved one in an old black-and-white photo taken in 1945.
After elegantly gracing the stage with their evening gowns, the contestants answered the following questions, “Which reality show would you want to join?” and “What does the NAD Conference theme mean to you?”. The answers to the first question was entertaining, two chose the “Bachelorette”, two chose “Survivor”, one chose “Real World” and the final contestant chose “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”.