Madeleine Ford, Parkway High School’s 2017 Peony Pageant representative
Madeleine Ford, Parkway High School’s 2017 Peony Pageant representative
ROCKFORD — Parkway High School’s Peony Pageant representative Madeleine Ford wanted to step outside her comfort zone by participating in the pageant this year.

Already in the few weeks that she has been preparing for the pageant, she has done so and has enjoyed making new friends along the way.

“I really wanted to make new friends and I knew this would be an opportunity to do that,” she said. “I also wanted to put myself out into the public and allow people to see a different side of me because I’m usually shy.”

Ford had heard from her sister, who participated a few years ago, about how much fun the Peony Pageant was and so far, despite a few nerves, she said it has been fun.

For her talent, Ford will sing “Hallelujah” and do American Sign Language with it.

“I have a cousin who is 30 percent deaf so I kind of picked up a little bit from her and then I’ve looked up some that I didn’t know on YouTube,” she said. "I just think it’s very interesting so that way everyone can understand you and it’s very intriguing to me.”

With the Peony Pageant set for April 7, just three weeks away, Ford has been busy practicing.

“I’ve gone to a couple of nursing homes and had my accompanist with me and we’ve played the song,” she said. “It kind of helps to build up practice in getting comfortable performing in front of people.”

Ford plans to attend Wright State Lake Campus after high school where she will study nursing.

“I’ve always loved helping people and anytime that anyone got sick in my family I’d be the first one there to try to help them and it’s just something that I’ve wanted to do since my dad was in the hospital,” she said. “That really opened my eyes to how much nurses can help the patient and the family and that was eye opening to me. It’s something that I thought I should do.”

Ford thinks the experience she gains from the Peony Pageant will help her in her future nursing career by getting her more comfortable with meeting new people.

“These girls that I’ve met, you learn so much about them in just the short amount of weeks that you’re with them,” she said.

Ford said the Peony Pageant is already helping her practice her social and communication skills. She sees those skills helping her in the future when she needs to communicate with families or patients; she will be better able to do so.

The Peony Pageant is set for 7 p.m. April 7 at the Marsh Foundation Auditorium.