Snow White (Brenna Bakke) presents awards to Sheyanne Deeds of Paton. Christina Lampe of Carroll is at right.
Snow White (Brenna Bakke) presents awards to Sheyanne Deeds of Paton. Christina Lampe of Carroll is at right.
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Contestants were awarded trophies, sashes and certificates.

They received such awards as Miss Dreams Made True, Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality.

But to families, seeing a daughter participate in the third annual Dreams Made True Pageant on Saturday at Carroll High School, the real reward was seeing their pure enjoyment, seeing them thriving.

That was true both for parents of first-time contestants and parents of girls back from previous years.

Dave and Dayna Teske of Carroll launched the nonprofit Dreams Made True Inc. and the pageant in 2010  as an event for enhancing the lives of special-needs girls ages 5-25. They modeled the pageant after a similar one in Kewanee, Ill., where their daughter Daleney, now 11, brought home top honors and the family cherished the experience. Dave is customer service and quality assurance manager for Anthony International in Audubon, and Dayna is a third-grade teacher at Ar-We-Va.

Brandi Aspengren of Boone brought her 11-year-old daughter, Greta, to Dreams Made True for the first time this year.

“She’s having a blast,” Brandi said Saturday afternoon during an intermission while judges were making their decision on a host of awards.

“She’s not really a girlie girl,” Brandi said of Greta, “but she’s definitely looked like a girlie girl today. She’s loved it. She’s loved everybody she’s met.”

The 20 girls in the pageant made three on-stage appearances — introduction with their accompanying buddy,  casual-wear round, and formal-wear round when the girls each are asked a question. Each girl also met with a panel of judges during the day.

“It’s so-well-rehearsed and wonderful,” Brandi said of the pageant. “Everybody here is kind and giving. It’s really neat to see the kids not judging each other and being kind to one another.

“Greta has been bullied, and we’ve had to switch schools because of it.”

Greta’s diagnosis is undetermined, Brandi said, but she’s undergone three surgeries and lived with a feeding tube for nine years because she couldn’t eat anything by mouth. She’s had a lot of reflux and loses nutrients. Although 11 years old, she weighs only 47 pounds.

She will be going into sixth grade, and Brandi said, she’s a great student who particularly likes art.

“This is a huge confidence,” Brandi, who served as her daughter’s accompanying buddy throughout the activities, said of Greta’s experience. “Today I’ve seen her smile more than I have in a long time.”

Brandi, who’s a pediatric nurse at McFarland Clinic in Ames, added, “She feels beautiful today. You can see it. She’s smiling and giggling. She’s let go. There’s nobody to judge her today.”

All the contestants were asked, “What is your biggest dream?”

Greta responded, “My biggest dreams are to build a new house with a pool, a hot tub, a trampoline, an art room and a family room to spend time with my family.”

Fourteen-year-old Christina Lampe, daughter of Mike and Kathy Lampe of Carroll, participated in Dreams Made True for the second straight year.

“She had so much fun last year, she wanted to do it again,” Kathy said.

“It makes her feel good, makes her feel happy,” Kathy said of Christina, who likes everything about the pageant, from getting her hair styled to the pizza party.

Kathy said Christina, who will be starting ninth grade at Carroll High School, is a very good student who likes to read and enjoys everything about school.

“After school is out at the end of the year, she can’t wait for it to start back up again,” Kathy said.

Christina enjoys being a cheerleader at sports events, and this will be her third year in that activity.

“She enjoys going to the games and being with the other kids,” Kathy said.

Christina was born with a shrinkage of the brain due to virus Kathy caught while she was pregnant. That caused Christina to be mentally delayed, and she has scoliosis. When she was 8 she underwent a 12-hour surgery where rods were placed in her back and a rib was removed.

“She’s come a long ways,” Kathy said.

Christina’s dream is to attend a Pittsburgh Steelers football game. Christina has become a Steelers fan because a good family friend also is a Steelers fan.

While some of the dreams shared by the girls were light-hearted, others were more serious.

“My biggest dream is to be seizure-free,” said 15-year-old Ali Smith.

“My biggest dreams are to go to Disney World and meet the princesses, and to live on my own, making my own choices,” said 14-year-old Olivia Siepker.

Holly Smith, 22, said, “My biggest dream is that the world would tolerate and love us ‘special people’ and find a place in their hearts for us.”

Dayna Teske, one of the Dreams Made True founders, said, “The pageant is something you have to be a part of, to experience firsthand, to truly appreciate what it means to these girls and their families. Words alone cannot explain the Dreams Made True pageant. … As you look around the audience and see the emotions, it is overwhelming.”

She added, “The support of the Carroll community and its businesses make  Carroll the perfect place to hold this pageant.”

With Dreams Made True marking its third year, Teske said, “Seeing the changes, the growth, confidence and poise in some of our returning contestants was amazing. The bonds that had been made with their buddies in the previous years were also evident. The comfort level of the returners, both contestants and buddies, made the newcomers feel very welcome and right at home with us.

“The elation of the girls on sage is so exciting to see, the emotion of the parents and families is so heartwarming, making all of the work so worth the effort.”

Following are top awards presented at the pageant:

Judges’ Choice — Sheyanne Deeds, daughter of Kimberly Deeds of Paton, and Christina Lampe, daughter of Mike and Kathy Lampe of Carroll.

Best Casual Wear — Holly Smith, daughter of Louie and Barb Smith of Carroll.

Best Formal Wear — Danielle Anderson, daughter of Shaun Anderson and Christy Scannell of Storm Lake.

Miss Photogenic — Greta Aspengren, daughter of Anthony and Brandi Aspengren of Boone.

Miss Congeniality — Alexis McCaughey, daughter of Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey of Carlisle.

DMT Award — Greta Aspengren, daughter of Anthony and Brandi Aspengren of Boone.

People’s Choice — Abby Heinrichs, daughter of Jeremy and Tawnya Heinrichs of Carroll.

5- Through 9-Year-Olds

Little Miss Dreams Made True — Karissa Day, daughter of Michelle Day of Des Moines.

First Runner-up — Abby Heinrichs, daughter of Jeremy and Tawnya Heinrichs of Carroll.

10- Through 14-Year-Olds

Junior Miss Dreams Made True — Liz Esdohr, daughter of Michael and Brenda Esdohr of St. Ansgar and Sue Shires of Carroll.

First Runner-up — Briana Rahn, daughter of Timmie Page of State Center.

15- Through 19-Year-Olds

Teen Miss Dreams Made True — Ali Smith, daughter of Tad and Angee Smith of Council Bluffs.

First Runner-up — Kelsey Roberts, daughter of Mary Roberts of Coralville.

20- Through 25-Year-Olds

Miss Dreams Made True — Natalie Wulf, daughter of Kevin and Karen Wulf of Holstein.

First Runner-up — Holly Smith, daughter of Louie and Barb Smith of Carroll