CHS senior represents Coppell as Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen 2017


Akif Abidi

Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen Stephanie Wendt takes a walk around the stage and waves to the audience at the Plano/Frisco/North Texas pageant at Plano West Senior High School on Sept. 3. Wendt is a senior at Coppell High School and was the chosen over 52 contestants hailing from all over Texas for the famed Outstanding Teen of the Year award this summer.

Jessica Hernandez, Staff Writer

Competitive dancer, Red Jacket, Lariette, advocate, volunteer, leader, friend, daughter and Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen 2017. These are just a few of the many titles that can be used to describe Coppell High School senior Stephanie Wendt.


At the end of June, Wendt was named Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen after competing against 51 other girls for the title. In previous years, Wendt has been a Miss Texas Outstanding Teen for Fort Worth, Plano and North Texas.


Wendt then went on to compete against 50 other girls from every state and the District of Columbia less than a month later for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. She placed fourth in the national competition as third runner-up to Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen Jessica Baeder, who was named Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2018 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla.


Each Miss America Organization (MAO) pageant is made up of four key portions: fitness, talent, evening gown/onstage question and a private interview. Wendt competed with a lyrical dance for the talent portion at both the state and the national level.


“The hardest part for me was making sure that, since it was my very last year of eligibility this year, that I left everything on the stage,” Wendt said. “I worked as hard as I possibly could and I truly was 100 percent [me] on that stage. I truly believe that’s one of the reasons that I was able to accomplish that dream this year.”


When Wendt was 8, she was asked to be a Lone Star Princess, which is part of the Miss Texas mentoring program for young girls who are not old enough to compete but want to get a sense of what it is like.


“I wasn’t actually competing, but that kind of lit the fire in me,” Wendt said. “Just sitting and watching the girls compete made me turn to my mom and say ‘That’s what I want to do.’”


Stephanie’s first pageant with the MAO took place her freshman year, and it didn’t take much for her parents to say “yes” to her pageant endeavors.


As a scholastic pageant, the MAO focuses on more than just pretty dresses and scripted answers.


“People have preconceived notions that pageants are just beauty pageants, but I knew the Miss America Organization was totally different,” mother Amy Wendt said. “It’s beneficial and brings life lessons along the way.”


Throughout every step of her pageant journey, Stephanie has had her parents by her side. From being a Lone Star Princess to being Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen 2017, Stephanie has grown and changed in numerous ways.


Stephanie’s parents have had the opportunity to watch their daughter become a role model for young girls across the state and country, and in doing so have learned that dedication is all that is required in order to be successful.


“To see her mature and watch her self-confidence grow from when she was on stage [as a Lone Star Princess] when she was 8 years old to becoming Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen has been incredible,” father Paul Wendt said.


Stephanie is not the only Wendt that has grown and changed from her time spent doing pageants. Her family has taken to volunteering with every free moment they have and giving back to the community however they can. From yearly volunteering traditions to cheering in crowds for their daughter, Stephanie’s parents have had their fair share of life lessons to take with them after leaving every event they do.


“Even though I’m the one that’s competing in pageants, it’s really become a family endeavor because my parents are the ones that are driving me to the appearances and at some points they’re volunteering alongside with me,” Stephanie said. “It’s not just me growing as a person, but it’s allowing us to grow closer as a family through the community work that we’re doing.”


Along with her parents, Wendt’s friends have also been able to cheer her on and watch her grow as a person and a performer over the years.


“I’ve loved watching Stephanie do pageants because I’ve known her since we were in middle school, and getting to see her grow into who she is has been incredible,” senior Lauren McCord said. “She’s taken lots of steps to get where she is and I’ve seen a lot of change and development in Stephanie and it’s been so great.”


As Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen, Stephanie has the opportunity volunteer and devote her time to organizations and causes that she deems are important. Each Outstanding Teen is expected to serve their community and give back in numerous ways.


In addition to other extracurricular activities that Stephanie is committed to, she is left with a packed schedule but a strong passion for everything that she does.


“Whenever you want something and you work at it for years and you dream of having it happen and it finally does, it makes you extremely grateful, and that’s one thing that I’ve really focused on as Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen,” Stephanie said. “Just being grateful and not taking each opportunity and blessing for granted.”


In the future, Stephanie plans on competing in the Miss Texas pageant so she can fulfill her dreams of walking across the Miss America stage.