Mary Elizabeth Madden, 15, is a sophomore at Oak Mountain High School. The daughter of Tim and Tammy Madden, she is a member of the Oak Mountain Show Choir Singers and the Junior Varsity cheer squad.

Why did you decide to participate in the Miss Heart of Dixie’s Outstanding Teen competition?

There are so many reasons why I wanted to do the pageant, but one of the main ones was that I would love to get the opportunity to represent the Walker County area and the Shelby County area in the state pageant this March.

What were memorable parts of this experience?

There were so many memorable parts of the whole competition. I loved getting to see some familiar faces throughout the day and meeting some new faces. We are honestly like a big happy family.

How are you preparing for Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen in March?

I am preparing for the pageant by rehearsing my talent and keeping my voice healthy for the talent portion of the competition. My talent is a new musical theater vocal, and I’m so excited to be able to perform it this year!

What is your platform?

My platform is Into the Light, bringing awareness to depression/mental illness and suicide. With my platform, I want to inform people that it is okay to speak up about your problems. You shouldn’t be silenced or ashamed about any troubles that you may be going through.

What do you hope to accomplish in this competition?

This year, I hope to represent the Walker County and Shelby County the best that I can, but truly, to show my true self in each and every portion of competition.

Do you have any pre-competition rituals?

Honestly, my only pre-show ritual is to stay calm and to remember to stay confident. When you are calm and confident, I feel like you perform so much better than when you are nervous.

What’s something interesting people might not know about you?

I have been doing theater for over eight years, and I have actually performed the part of Mary Poppins twice, once at my old school, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School, and once at the Leeds Arts Council. Both were such a blessing and such an amazing opportunity to have. And I actually learned to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” backwards!

What would you like to do after you graduate?

I would love to either go to Troy University or the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to pursue a major in sports medicine/physical therapy to become a physical therapist. But I would also love to have a minor in musical theater.

What do you love about Shelby County?

There are so many things that I love about the Shelby County area: the people, the places, the food, everything! So I’m definitely over-the-top blessed to be representing my county, Shelby County, and basically my second county, Walker County.