by Dennis Dalman – firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people mistakenly think pretty girls do not get bullied.
It’s not true.
Just ask “Miss Sartell” Alanna Olinger. As a girl growing up in Westchester, N.Y., she was bullied frequently, mainly by other girls in her middle school and some later in high school, who would disparage her because she was so thin. They’d call her names like “Skinny Winnie” – and worse. Olinger tried to hide the pain she felt, but sometimes – when alone – she would burst into tears. Her self-esteem began to plummet in her middle-school and high-school years.
And she has not forgotten that pain. As a candidate for “Miss Minnesota International,” Olinger’s platform topic is “Bullying.” At the pageant, which will take place March 15 in St. Cloud (exact time and location to be announced), Olinger will give a speech about the crucial need for societal forces to get together to prevent bullying of children. She will be competing against young women from throughout Minnesota, each representing her own city.
“I wasn’t bullied as badly as other girls,” she said, “but I want all girls to know they can survive bullying and become beautiful inside and outside. They can build their self-esteem even if they have been bullied physically, mentally or emotionally. I want to be a voice for those girls.”
Olinger moved to Sartell from Westchester, because her boyfriend, who had completed his medical residency in New York, found a job in Sartell. Dr. Ken Anderson is an oral-facial surgeon at Central Lakes clinic in Sartell. Olinger is employed as a medical biller for Array Services in Sartell.
As a relative newcomer to Sartell, Olinger has been busy learning about her new city and its people. She plans to become involved with all aspects of the city and hopes to make many new friends in the process. One of her favorite hobbies is participating in zumba dancing.
Olinger said she doesn’t expect to be nervous during the March 15 Miss Minnesota International Pageant. She has competed before in local pageants in Westchester, as well as in the Miss New York USA Pageant and the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
She is also not nervous because she is eager to share her insights about bullying, and she is confident people will listen to her and heed her words.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.