Miss Butler County Miranda Flemming is making her second run for the title of Miss Kansas.

Miranda Flemming is already making preparations for her summer activities when she finishes her first year at Pratt Community College. Unlike most college students that are looking for summer jobs or planning vacations, Flemming is working on becoming the next Miss Kansas and eventually, the next Miss America.

Flemming became Miss Butler County 2018 on Oct. 7 and will make her second run for Miss Kansas the first week in June in Pratt. Flemming competed in the pageant last year as Miss Leavenworth County.

This is a continuation of her association with the pageant. She was a Sunflower Princess every year she was eligible from ages 7 to 12. Then she waited a year before entering the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competition where she participated for one year. She entered the Miss Kansas Pageant for the first time in 2017.

Her platform is "Facing the Burning Building" a name she chose from her experience when her house burned down when she was in the first grade. The platform focuses on the five stages of grief. She plans on becoming a grief counselor when she graduates from college.

Her platform is based on her experience when her mother died when she was just 10-years-old and the the grieving experience she went through. In her platform, her mother's death is her burning building.

Being able to speak confidently is key to becoming Miss Kansas. Flemming credits her teacher Rose Beilman and competing in Forensics all four years of high school for giving her the confidence to speak out on her platform and to perform at Miss Kansas.

In her senior year in forensics, her speech focused on how everyone grieves differently and that ties in directly with her platform that also explains the difference between grief and loss. A quote she used in her speech from grief author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is a strong part of Flemming's message. "You'll never be the same" is a fact that everyone dealing with grief has to face, Flemming said.

When a Miss Kansas contestant builds their platform, they have to go beyond what they know to get a broader understanding of their issue. Flemming has benefited from her research and is more confident when she counsels people dealing with grief.

There are people that are stuck in the grieving process and she wants to be able to help them get through the process and get on with their lives, Flemming said.

Flemming's goal is to share her platform and becoming Miss Kansas would give her a much broader base to work from. She wants to have a chance to be a representative for Kansas and eventually make it to Miss America.

"I want to win," Flemming said.

For her talent competition, she will perform a lyrical dance to "Jealous of the Angels" in honor of her deceased mother Doreen Anderson.

She chose this style of music because it allows her to tell the story, through dance, of how she lost her mother. Flemming was just 10 when her mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack. There were no warning signs and it had a powerful impact on Flemming who was present when her mother died.

Flemming has been dancing since she eight years and enjoys lyrical dance because it allows her to tell stories through movement.

Dancing is Flemming's current athletic activity. She did gymnastics when she was very young and was a cheerleader all four years of high school.

Miss Kansas contestants all have a favorite competition and for Flemming it's the interview. Because of her experiences in Forensics, she has the confidence to be herself when she is being interviewed and that is a key factor in becoming Miss Kansas. The judges want to see the real person and how they can think on their feet.

"You have to be yourself," Flemming said. "You have to be relateable and funny."

Her least favorite competition is swimsuit. Through her experience her first year in the pageant system, she has gained confidence and it continues to grow as she prepares for this years event.

In 2017, Flemming entered three preliminaries before she won a local title. This year, she won her new local title in her first preliminary pageant.

The first year of competition was very stressful and was a learning time for her. She learned a lot and is working harder this year as she prepares for Miss Kansas.

In 2017, Flemming went head to head with Miss Kansas Krystian Fish when they competed against each other in a local pageant before Fish went on to win Miss Kansas. Fish won and Flemming was first runner-up in that pageant and that gave her a lot of confidence. Flemming watched Fish as she also grew during her pageant competition.

Flemming is the daughter of Martin Flemming and the late Doreen Anderson and step mother Mary Flemming. She graduated from Pratt High School in 2016 and is attending Pratt Community College. She plans on attending Wichita State University and majoring in psychology.

@GaleR_Tribune