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Special School District of St. Louis County

Student Wins Miss Junior Teen
at Miss Amazing Pageant




Mackenzie Baniak is a shining example of what the Miss Amazing Pageant aims to help participants achieve.

Mackenzie, a freshman who receives SSD services at Pattonville High School, earned the Miss Junior Teen crown earlier this year at the Missouri Miss Amazing Pageant. 

The Missouri pageant features contestants in a variety of age categories from throughout the state. The event celebrates girls with physical and other disabilities.

“The Miss Amazing Pageant brings the girls out of their comfort zone and lets them see how beautiful and amazing they truly are,” says Ellie Lorenzen, state director for the Missouri pageant. “It gives them new goals to achieve and teaches them important life skills like public speaking and how to interview.”

Jackie Baniak, Mackenzie’s mother, says that her daughter really enjoyed the whole process. “It made her feel very special,” Baniak says. “And it brought the community together by involving family, friends and school.”

As the winner of the Missouri competition, Mackenzie has been busy with official duties such as bringing food to the poor, making appearances and participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

She also competed in the national competition in August. These experiences have given Mackenzie the opportunity to build confidence and learn life skills.

Mackenzie says that although it was a little scary, she really enjoyed getting to dance in front of the audience for the talent showcase. “And I liked meeting new friends from all of the different states at the national competition.”

Mackenzie’s SSD teacher, Tina Rellergert, has noticed a dramatic positive difference in Mackenzie’s personality since her participation in the pageant.

“At the beginning of the year, she was uncomfortable. However, now Mackenzie has friends, enjoys school and looks forward to being here. She has a very positive and loving attitude,” says Rellergert. “Mackenzie makes an amazing Miss Junior Teen because she does not see things as obstacles to hold her back, but as challenges to push her forward.”

For more information on the Miss Amazing Pageant, visit their website.
Mackenzie BaniakMackenzie Baniak
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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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