Friday, May 29, 2020

Hannah Hilyard Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Hannah Hilyard is an advocate for childhood mental health, a talented dancer, and the current Miss Woodland Hills. I was so excited she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more!

So, let's see what happens when Hannah Hilyard visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Woodland Hills crown?
I celebrated with a never ending stream of FaceTime calls from my Miss California sisters! It was so much fun answering those calls with my crown in hand. I competed for 5 years and in 16 local competitions before I won Miss Woodland Hills, so I had met so many amazing girls along the way that were just as ecstatic as I was that night! As my mom was driving us home from the competition, our 3 1/2 hour drive was filled with all the love from several fabulous formers, friends, and much of the Miss California Class of 2020.

What has surprised you the most about your time as Miss Woodland Hills? 
I really am amazed at the power of the crown. I love how my title connects with all age groups across California, and gives me a voice that for so long I fought to have. My personal platform means the world to me, and this title is an incredible way to promote it. The networking and opportunities to serve the community have been priceless, and it has been such a positive in my life and so many others. 

What part of the upcoming Miss California competition are you most nervous about? 
Genuinely, I'm really not nervous for Miss California, and not in a cocky way at all. The Miss American Organization has empowered me to fully embrace who I am, and I feel that exudes in my ability to connect to others. When you are yourself, it attracts people to you! I have dreamt of my time in Fresno for so long, and competed for so many years in order to achieve that dream, that I know I’m ready. Of course there is a lot of preparation going on in every area of competition, but my excitement far outweighs my nerves when it comes to Miss California. 

How did you select your social impact initiative, “Speak Up for Kids: Childhood Mental Health and Learning Disorders”?
My social impact initiative is deeply personal. I grew up with an undiagnosed mental health disorder. I began showing signs of anxiety by early elementary school, but was brushed off by teachers for years. I did not receive a proper diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder until I was 16. Even then, I did not receive a full diagnosis of anxiety, OCD, and a panic disorder until I was 19. As someone who went through all of that, I have seen how there is a huge lack of pediatric mental health resources. As a teacher, I get to be that advocate every day for my students. My goal is to empower all communities to utilize the mental health resources that we do have, and tailor them the needs of children. The statistic is that 1 in 5 children have or will develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Additionally, 75% of adult mental illness cases begin developing before the age of 13. As a teacher, I am able to implement measures daily that help identify the signs of early onset mental illnesses, and also help to give those students the support that they need and be their advocate. It is my goal to empower communities to take similar action when it comes to our youth. 

As a talented dancer, what do you enjoy most about performing on stage?
I dance to express my feelings. I enjoy standing in the middle of a big empty dance floor showing an audience what I have to express. I take a lot of pride in choosing pieces that allow me to convey a story to my audience. I actually began competing in the Miss American Organization because of the talent portion! I grew up dancing, and loved the idea of getting to perform in a different type of scenario. I’m really excited to share my heart on the Miss California stage.

If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
Personally, I would love to be Rapunzel! It seems like she has SO much to do in her tower, and I feel like right now while our entire state is social distancing, I could really benefit from picking up some new hobbies. I really resonate with Rapunzel’s tenacity and desire to make others happy, she is by far one of my favorite princesses.

Coming from a family of Giants fans, who is your all-time favorite Giants player?
Buster Posey! Not only is he by far my family’s favorite player, but I really admire his Posey Family Foundation which raises money for pediatric cancer. Fun fact, at one point my family had 4 guinea pigs that were all named after Giants players!

If you had an extra ticket to a Giants-Red Sox game, who would you bring? Why?
I would bring my 13 year old brother, David! He is an amazing baseball player. He pretty much plays baseball 24/7, playing league, fall ball, and on his school’s team. During the summers, you can catch my family and I being his biggest fans in the stands of whatever field he is playing on. He is one of the biggest Giants fans I know! 

Is there a feature or activity at a Giants game that you’d especially like to experience?
I’m always down for a Giants vs. Dodgers game! Anytime I can watch the Giants #BeatLA, I’m here for it. I would love to go to a rivalry game in person at ATT Park.


A “rivalry” game would definitely be so much fun!

As usual, I want to thank Hannah for visiting with us, and for sending along the wonderful pictures.

As Hannah continues her time as Miss Woodland Hills, I encourage you to check out her official Instagram Page. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on anything she’ll have going on.

I also want to wish her the best of luck whenever she competes for the Miss California title. It would be wonderful to have the first Section 36 visitor wear that crown!

Thanks again Hannah, and good luck!

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