Put on your best 1980s outfit and come to the Senior Activity Center on May 30 for the Time After Time fundraiser to benefit the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee organization.
Amanda Szidiropulosz of Cleveland was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2014 at the March 22 ceremony in Knoxville. The first runner-up and winner of the Ms. Congeniality award was Amanda Northrup, also from Cleveland.
The Time After Time event will feature a King and Queen contest, professional ’80s portraits will be taken and there will be door prizes and food. Sarah Jennings from Channel 9 will be the special guest at the event, which will be held from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Senior Activity Center, 230 Urbane Road in Cleveland.
As the 2014 Tennessee winner, in August, Szidiropulosz will represent the state in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Long Beach, Calif. She plans to travel over the state during the coming year doing speaking engagements and spreading her platform, which is educating and empowering children with disabilities and their parents.
“Ensuring that children reach their full potential is something I am extremely passionate about,” Szidiropulosz said.
Szidiropulosz haws been an elementary music teacher for 16 years in the Bradley County school district. She has a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s degree in technology in teaching and will soon complete the project phase of a doctorate of education with a focus on teacher leadership.
She has been selected as Teacher of the Year twice during her career and has built a choral program at Charleston Elementary School which has received many awards and much recognition.
However, Szidiropulosz says her biggest accomplishment has been doing all these things from a wheelchair and to represent the disabled community of Tennessee “is one of the biggest honors of my life.”
The Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee program provides an opportunity of achievement for women — who happen to use wheelchairs — to successfully educate and advocate for Tennesseans with disabilities.
“Unlike traditional beauty pageants,” Szidiropulosz said, “Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is not a contest to select the most attractive individual.” Instead, she continued, “it is a competition based on advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswomen for persons with disabilities.”
She urges others to help by volunteering time or much-needed funds so the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee program can continue to grow. The next state pageant will be held in the spring of 2015 — “we want it to be bigger than ever.” No amount is too small, she added. “The support for the wonderful organization will be appreciated more than you know.”
Tickets for the benefit are $40 per couple/$25 single. Prices at the door will be slightly higher. For more information, visit website: www.MsWheelchairTN.org; or call 423-322-6457.