Alexis McCaughey (left) embraces Lisa Daringer, a 2013 Carroll High School graduate who is dressed like Cinderella as part of her work with girls with special needs at the Dreams Made True pageant in 2013. McCaughey, a member of the first septuplets born in recorded history in 1997, earned the 2013 Miss Teen Dreams Made True award on the Carroll stage.
Alexis McCaughey (left) embraces Lisa Daringer, a 2013 Carroll High School graduate who is dressed like Cinderella as part of her work with girls with special needs at the Dreams Made True pageant in 2013. McCaughey, a member of the first septuplets born in recorded history in 1997, earned the 2013 Miss Teen Dreams Made True award on the Carroll stage.
July 16, 2014



A Carroll beauty pageant that pampers and highlights disabled girls kicks off Friday night for its fifth-anniversary year.

The Dreams Made True event starts that day at 6:30 p.m. at the Carroll High School auditorium with registration, snacks and a brief rehearsal for the real pageant the next day. Each girl also meets her assigned buddy - a teenage girl who matches the contestant's personality and interests - for the contest.

"The pageant gives the girls self-confidence to do things they never thought they could," said Dayna Teske, who with her husband, David, launched the event after their daughter Daleney won a Miss Congeniality award in a similar pageant in Illinois in 2008.

Daleney, now 13, has cerebral palsy and struggles to walk.

Past participants in the pageant have had hearing loss, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, and surgical removal of part of the brain, among others.

Dayna Teske said the pageants bring together families that have similar struggles. The girls socialize and learn from each other. It makes their life journeys easier.

On Saturday a panel of judges interview the participants. Their questions range from favorite foods or color to how the girls deal with their disabilities.

During this time parents are welcome to listen to speakers that will be presenting and talk with other parents.

After a pizza party for lunch, the participants will get their hair and makeup done for the pageant.

The beauty pageant will begin at 3 p.m.

Tickets to attend are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and free for kids younger than school age.

The pageant will have four separate age groups with awards for each: 5-9, 10-14, 15-19 and 20-25.

Prizes include tiaras, sashes and trophies. All participants will receive a medal. The audience will be able to vote for the winner of the People's Choice Award.

The head judge of this year's event is Alison Swanson, director of admissions at Simpson College in Indianola. Swanson, along with a majority of the judges have had a role in the pageant for the last four years. All 12 judges are volunteers, and three will be assigned to each age group.

The pageant will have three rounds of competition. In the first round contestants will model the pageant T-shirt and jeans. The next round gives the girls a chance to show off their personality. Judges ask the girls to wear a casual outfit to show off who they are. In the final round pageant contestants will have male escorts to walk them across the stage in evening gowns.

The emcee for the pageant is Gary Kroeger, an Iowa-born actor who was a cast member of the national comedy show "Saturday Night Live" for three years in the 1980s.

Lindee Link will sing and provide the music for the event. Link's song "Fairytale" is the theme song for the Dreams Made True pageant.

Local donors and the Teske family have set up a few surprises for the girls during the pageant. The pageant has a wide variety of donors from Carroll and surrounding areas.

"We have been blessed with the amount of support we've gotten from the community," Dayna Teske said.

Of the 33 contestants, about one-third are from the Carroll area.

"Word of mouth has really helped with getting more girls involved with the pageant in the past few years," Teske said.

Last year's Miss Dreams Made True was Amber Simons, of Stuart, the Teen Miss Dreams Made True was Alexis McCaughey, of Carlisle, and the Little Miss Dreams Made True was Kennedi Vondrak, of Kingsley.

This year's pageant will have about 60 volunteers and "buddies" who will help the girls during the day. A majority of the volunteers have been recruited by friends who have been involved with the pageant for its entirety. Contestants can also request a buddy if they prefer someone that they have previously had.

Teske said a lot of the girls will stick with their buddy from the previous year.

A free-will donation dinner sponsored by Fareway will be held after the pageant, when the audience can meet the contestants. All proceeds will go toward next year's pageant. Teske's dream would be to raise enough money to waive the $50 entry fee that the contestants pay to participate.

"To have the pageant be a day of pampering for the girls would be great," she said.