ROUND LAKE – A 10-year-old Round Lake girl aims to spread kindness while wearing a crown.
Named Little Miss Round Lake Area 2019 and Miss Illinois 6th Grade Elementary America 2021, Kailee Albeck hopes to gain another title soon. With a personal platform of “Kindness Cares,” Albeck will compete June 20-24 in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the national title of Miss 6th Grade Elementary America 2021.
The pageant includes the categories of evening gown, interview, fashion runway and community service project.
Albeck has worked daily with a pageant coach to prepare.
“You have to be yourself and act naturally,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you have this big pretty dress. You have to just be yourself on stage and just be confident.”
A scholarship pageant created in 2018, the Miss Elementary America Pageant is a division of the Miss High School America Pageant Organization, with contestants encouraged to go on to compete in high school. This year’s pageant theme is Building Respect and Values for Everyone, or B.R.A.V.E.
Along with a crown and sash, winners in grades pre-K through sixth grade earn $5,000, a Caribbean cruise, a modeling contract, a $500 American Girl shopping spree and more rewards.
A former Round Lake area pageant winner herself, Kailee’s mother, Katie Albeck, said her daughter watched pageant queens in parades growing up.
“She always was like, ‘Mom, look at the princesses,’ whenever they would drive by in the crowns,” Katie Albeck said. “One day, she said, ‘Hey, mom I want to do it.’ Of course, my heart exploded, and I said, ‘Hey, let’s go!’ "
Among her many community service efforts, Kailee, who just finished fifth grade at Park Campus in Round Lake, read a book to her classmates about why they shouldn’t bully.
She said she enjoys being able to spread an anti-bullying message around her school and community.
She also likes the social aspect of being part of pageants.
“I get to meet new people,” she said.
As Little Miss Round Lake Area 2019, Kailee completed more than 100 hours of community service.
She collected more than 60 packages of diapers and more than 600 pounds of food for the Avon Cares Food Pantry in Round Lake Park.
She’s also organized and taken part in a cleanup of Hook Lake in Round Lake, baked and delivered cookies to the fire and police stations, delivered meals to Lake County Haven, painted and hid “Kindness Rocks” and hosted both a diaper drive and lemonade stand to get donations for the Avon Cares Food Pantry.
She said she likes to do things that “make people happy.”
“The world during this time needs more kindness,” she said.
Even simple acts such as holding a door, a compliment or a smile can mean a lot, her mother said.
As part of the upcoming competition, the Albecks will spend a week in Little Rock, Arkansas, taking part in rehearsals and events leading up to the national pageant. Among the activities are a pajama party, a Build a Bear party, a trip to a museum, a banquet, a community service event and more.
The competition also includes a People’s Choice category, with the winner in each division earning a scholarship and the opportunity to compete in the finals as a member of the top 11. Voting costs $1 a vote and takes place through June 24. Those interested in voting for Kailee can do so at www.americashighschoolpageant.com/miss_collegiate_america_voting.php?id=968&pgnt_type=5&pgnt_year=2021