My name is Samantha Reeder, I am seventeen years old and currently a senior at Exeter Union High School. Being a part of Miss Exeter has been a dream of mine since elementary school. I have watched others before me who held this title and saw the growth and successes found within this program. By watching them, I knew that I also wanted to be a part of this long-standing tradition and reap the many benefits this experience offers. Throughout my elementary and middle school years, I was involved in Exeter 4-H. This organization was pivotal in my development as a leader while holding the officer positions of Secretary and Vice-President. Through these roles, I was taught various things such as parliamentary procedure, record keeping and organization. I was able to grow in my confidence as I participated in showing animals and displaying project accomplishments. One of the areas I grew the most through Exeter 4-H was public speaking. I went from being nervous to make an introduction to going to Visalia elementary schools giving demonstrations and presentations. Overcoming the fear and anxiety associated with public speaking was a goal I never believed achievable. The skills acquired have been beneficial within various areas of my life and will be carried out into my future.
Over the last three years, I have been involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Associative Student Body for two years, as well as club and school volleyball. These activities have helped to build upon the same skills first nurtured in 4-H. I have been taught the importance of self-discipline and never giving up, despite the trials you may face. I have loved being a part of rally prep, game day decorations, parades, and all that comes with being involved with your school and community. During my free time I enjoy reading, playing the piano and volunteering at my church’s children center.
Following high school, I am planning on attending a four-year university with a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a goal of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. This wasn’t always what I thought my future would hold. Beginning high school, I imagined a life as a missionary in Mexico. I knew that I wanted to work with children and do something that would have a lasting impact. I have been involved with a faith based non-profit in Visalia that provided at-risk youth a safe place to get homework help, warm food and Bible lessons to aid in their spiritual growth. This program is something that has been very special to me and my family for many years. Being able to work with these kids, taking part in helping them become the best versions of themselves, led me to my calling. After interning with a local speech therapist, I knew this was what I wanted to do…work with children helping them become the best versions of themselves as well. Through this pandemic, I have been able to build on that by working with students in their homes and assisting with distant learning; all confirming that I am on the right path.
I am looking forward to the challenges and experiences Miss Exeter has to offer as well as furthering my growth as a person and community member.