On Friday, January 7, 2011, KidsPeace was fortunate to be visited by
the reigning Miss PA’s Outstanding Teen, Jocelyn Gruber, and her mom, Paula.
The pair braved the snow in the morning to meet with Director of
TeenCentral.Net Dr. Julius Licata and tour the KidsPeace residential facilities
and schools in Orefield, PA, and film Jocelyn speaking about her own teen years
and the problems she has encountered before and after winning the state
Jocelyn is a beautiful,
energetic and personable young lady who is filled with the desire to bring the
pageant to people everywhere in the state. She has a strong ethic and a loving,
caring attitude that aims to please. For many reasons, this was a very special
visit for Jocelyn, as she spent her first 10 years being raised at a facility
that is similar to KidsPeace because both of her parents were counselors there.
Growing up with her brothers in this environment may explain her keen understanding
of kids’ problems and wisdom beyond her 17 years.
Paula Gruber is the
effervescent mom who is obviously very proud of her daughter’s accomplishments
and quickly informs the listener that she is equally proud of her two sons now
serving in the Navy. Both graduated from Annapolis, and they are currently
serving their country. Jocelyn,
who beams whenever her brothers are mentioned, echoes the closeness of this
family. She is quick to let you know that her dad is her greatest fan.
Headquarters and then went for a tour of the KidsPeace Hospital where she met
with staff and children. Anyone with her immediately realized that her love for
the children was very strong. She
met with the youngest group and asked if they knew who she was. The answers
ranged from the President to the Queen of PA, which, I guess, is not that far
away from who she is or how she felt with these children. They enjoyed the
visit and were able to touch her crown, ask questions and just talk to her.
Her next stop was to the
Donley Education Center where she met with about 15 teens. These teens were, at
first, quite reluctant to speak, but after about 5 minutes, they became totally
involved and shared stories, asked questions and laughed along with this
Jocelyn then returned to
headquarters and to the TC.N office and spoke to teens via video camera about
her life and difficulties and how you have to be ready to sacrifice for what
you really want. Her message was loud and clear as she encouraged teens to go
for it all.
can have it all, you just can’t have it all at one time.”
Both Jocelyn and Paula
plan to come back again soon to meet with more teens and to possibly film Paula
for ParentCentral.Net. After a brief visit of just 4 or 5 hours, one can be
assured that there is no shortage of stars in this family.
is Miss Pennsylvania's Outstanding Teen?
The Miss America's
Outstanding Teen title is earned through local, regional and then state
competitions presented by this scholarship-based program that offers
accomplished teens opportunities to win funds for college. Outstanding young
women compete on their scholastic achievement, creative accompli
living and community involvement. In the past five years, the organization has
awarded more than $3 million in college scholarships.
Jocelyn earned the title
of Miss Greater Johnstown Outstanding Teen and then won the competition in June
to be crowned Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen. She also won the talent
award for her piano performance. In August, Jocelyn was honored as one of the
top 10 at the national competition for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, winning
a $1,500 scholarship.
Each competitor has a
platform, and Jocelyn’s is: “A Call to Service: Motivating Today's Youth through the United States Public
Service Academy.” She hopes to encourage other teens to participate in public
service. Jocelyn is a member of the National Honor Society, "Who's Who in
Foreign Language," Outstanding Achievement in Foreign Languages, National
Young Leaders Council and the Fast Track program at Slippery Rock University.
Julius Licata is thrilled
to have Jocelyn as a supporter of TeenCentral.Net and is happy that the
relationship between the Miss Pennsylvania group and TeenCentral.Net has been
strong since 2002, when Autumn Marisa, the current Executive Director of Miss
PA’s Outstanding Teen, was Miss Pennsylvania herself. To learn more about the
program, visit http://misspaoteen.org/meet.htm.
Jocelyn visits with
Executive Vice President for Business Development Michael Slack and
TeenCentral.Net Director Julius Licata at KidsPeace