Hi, my name is Shandi Alyssa Stanaland. I am a 17-year-old high school Junior, varsity cheerleader, BETA Club, choir, and FCCLA member. I also participate in UIL Writing and One Act Play. I am in my second semester of my college classes and have a 4.0 GPA. I work in the critical care area of a local hospital and I love my job. I have witnessed happy and sad times, but it does allow me to meet some wonderful people, all the while preparing for my career as a CRNA one day.
I was crowned Miss Lufkin Outstanding Teen 2006 on January 14th. It was a very unexpected but wonderful moment for me considering it was my first pageant in the Miss America organization. I am proud to represent Lufkin and grateful to be given the opportunity to make a difference in many lives.
In the past four years I have experienced first hand what happens when individuals choose to drink and drive. As a result, I have felt compelled to do something to stop such senseless destruction of life. My platform, "Think About It! It's not just about drinking and driving. It's about living or dying," focuses mainly on underage drinking and driving. I hope to educate my peers on the consequences without them having to live through a tragedy.
Being Miss Lufkin Outstanding Teen is giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with others. I have made it a priority to look into what the communities around East Texas are doing to help minimize injuries and fatalities due to underage drinking and driving. One of the first steps I took was to contact the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission in Austin, which in turn led me to the "Shattered Dreams" program and becoming in involved in it.
"Shattered Dreams" is an educational experience that reminds us all of the dangers associated with drinking and driving. Most important, it reminds us of just how many young lives have already been lost.
It is my goal to establish school-based underage drinking and driving prevention programs statewide, whose main goal would be to reduce fatalities and injuries of teenagers in alcohol related accidents and to empower young people to lead education and prevention initiatives to address underage impaired driving in their schools and communities.
I feel that the greatest support comes in groups and from an organization known as SADD. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is the nation's most dominant peer-to-peer youth education system. With thousands of chapters across America, SADD endorses a firm "No Use" message to teenagers. I want to establish SADD chapters in schools all around the East Texas area.