Miss Auburn 2018 Whitney Van Vleet
Name: Whitney Van Vleet
Title: Miss Auburn
Hometown: Auburn, Washington
Education: Pacific Lutheran University
Platform Issue: Guide Dogs for the Blind – Emphasizing the Importance of Community Service
Scholastic/Career Ambition: B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice
Talent: Vocal, Opera – “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini
Scholastic Honors: Artistic Achievement Award in Music, Artistic Achievement Award in Theatre
Leadership Roles: Guide Dogs for the Blind—planned regional training carnival; taught Sunday school for one year at Messiah Lutheran Church; Treasurer/Secretary of Auburn Actors’ Guild.
Accomplishments: Award of Merit—Guide Dogs For The Blind (eight guide dog puppies raised); Second Place Small-Mixed Duet State Winner at Washington Music Educators’ Association State Solo and Ensemble Contest; hiked 70 miles of the Wonderland Trail; lost 40 lbs; and I’m an ordained minister.
Interesting Facts: can sing in seven languages, played rugby for Tacoma Sirens Women’s Rugby Club, sings in PLU’s University Chorale, has been in over twelve live-theater productions in the Auburn community, sang and danced live in Disneyland four years in a row, is an ordained marriage officiant for the state of Washington, intervened a domestic violence assault involving a nineteen year old girl.
Employment: Safety Officer at Pacific Lutheran University’s Campus Safety
How has the world you come from shaped your dreams and aspirations? I was raised to love God, my country, and all those around me. In my eleven years of service to Guide Dogs for The Blind, I have learned to devote my talents and abilities to help those in need. As a young teenager, I went through a difficult patch of life. I survived a violent assault, struggled through years of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. After a long journey of finding peace and healing, I’ve decided I want to dedicate my life to helping those who have gone through similar trauma. From my experience through Guide Dogs, and my own personal experiences, I want to serve my community further in the professional world, through law enforcement, after completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I aspire to become a major crimes detective. I want to be the person I needed as a young girl, to help other survivors of violent victimization find justice and healing.
What social issue, other than your platform, will have the greatest impact on your generation and why? I believe the rising awareness of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual abuse will have the greatest impact on my generation. It seems like every day there’s a new perpetrator announced in the media; from celebrities, government officials, to entertainment hosts and actors, and the list goes on. According to the Uniform Crime Report, there were 95,730 rapes reported to law enforcement in 2016 (official statistics published by the FBI), a 4.9% increase from data of 2015. Unfortunately, those were just sexual assaults that were reported, the majority of these crimes often go unreported. These offenses have become a norm in society, and my hope is that my generation gets tough on this topic.
Auburn’s Outstanding Teen 2018 Olivia Thomas
Name: Olivia Thomas
Title: Miss Auburn’s Outstanding Teen
Hometown: Auburn, Washington
Education: Auburn Mountainview High School Rainier Middle School, Hazelwood Elementary
Platform Issue: Mental Illness Awareness and Suicide Prevention
Scholastic/Career Ambition: To obtain a Doctor of Medicine. To become a pediatrician and work overseas.
Talent: Musical Theatre Vocal
Scholastic Honors: National Honor Society 6th through 11th grade; currently taking two Advanced Placement classes; placed 1st in the Regional DECA Conference in 2016.
Leadership Roles: Social media advisor for Heavier than Air Family Theatre; counselor for Lake Young’s Drama Club; counselor for Camp Auburn; youth leader at Vacation Bible School; various leadership roles in middle school ASB; WEB leader.
Accomplishments: Delivered two sermons at my home church; raised over $400 in donations and items for the Auburn Humane Society; participated in Broadway for #BrAvery; placed 9th in the state for speech and debate.
Interesting Facts: I have traveled to 41 states and traveled to Europe this summer. I have participated in theater and improv for 10 years and was recently able to see Hamilton in New York. Both of my parents are teachers in the Auburn School District.
Legacy: I would like to be remembered for challenging, and hopefully changing, people’s perception of the mental and behavioral health challenges that many face. When I look back, I want to be able to know that I have grown in confidence and intelligence and helped to better people’s lives.