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Woodbury's preteen queen

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It looks like the fifth time's the charm for Liberty Ridge Elementary fifth grader Hailey Archambault.

Archambault has earned an invitation to compete in the America's Little Miss national pageant, in the preteen division, after nearly five years of competing in pageants.

"I usually don't win in pageants, so this is a new thing for me," Archambault said. "I think it will be fun to go up on stage and perform in front of people from all around the world."

Archambault was named first runner-up, earning an invite to the national pageant this August in Orlando, Fla.

Additionally, Archambault also won prettiest smile and won a modeling scholarship during the state pageant, which was held April 8-10 at the Ramada-Mall of America in Bloomington.

The path to pageants

Archambault first began competing in pageants five years ago after her grandfather passed away.

"I don't exactly know why, I just felt like that would be a new thing to try," she said. "I've made a lot of friends through pageants."

In addition to America's Little Miss, Archambault has also competed in the National American Miss pageant system.

America's Little Miss is a national organization providing full scholarships to girls ages 6-12. The "non-glitz" system encourages young girls to showcase their personalities from within, according to the website.

The preteen division, in which Archambault competed, is for ages 10-12.

Contestants are judged on their introduction and personality, sportswear and formalwear.

"It was really fun," Archambault said of the state America's Little Miss pageant. "I didn't really show my excitement on stage when they said my name because I was supposed to be pleasant, but inside I was 'Oh my gosh!'"

In advance of nationals, Archambault is selling butter braids to help pay for her trip to Orlando. Since she is first runner-up, and not the title holder, her expenses are not covered by the pageant, only her entry fee.

Archambault will be selling butter braids through June 6. She will also be helping bag groceries from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 26 at Jerry's Foods in Woodbury in order to help raise money for her trip.

The national pageant will be held Aug. 1-7.

Growing through pageants

Since she first began in pageants five years ago, Archambault said she feels that she has grown in confidence and self-esteem, which is one reason why she has started a reading group for students with autism.

"My goal is to provide these kids with a place to go where they will feel welcome and can be around other kids who are just like them," she said. "I have (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) and know what it is like to be looked at differently."

Archambault will be holding the book club meetings from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every other Sunday at the R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury. The next meeting will be held June 5.

Archambault's grandmother and guardian, Linda, said she has seen a tremendous change in Archambault since entering pageants, also, especially in terms of school.

Archambault has been receiving As since starting in pageants whereas before she was getting Ds and Fs.

"Since she's started winning in particular, we've seen a lot of changes in her school work and her confidence level in her abilities," Linda said. "She always says that she's nervous, but then just gets up there and does what she needs to do."

Spalon Montage of Woodbury is sponsoring her for hair, make-up and nails.

If you are interested in purchasing a butter braid to support Hailey Archambault's trip to the America's Little Miss national pageant, contact Linda Archambault at larchambault41@gmail.com.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

(651) 702-0976
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