Nicole Chamberland had never been in a pageant before the contestant coordinator for the Miss Maine For America Pageant (not to be confused with Miss Maine) asked her to enter. It would be a new competition, one involving character as much as beauty. She would be the first contestant.

Chamberland, daughter of Mary Dempsey and niece of actor Patrick Dempsey, decided to give it a try.

Between now and May, she’ll be known as Miss Androscoggin 2019 — a title she got to choose for the competition. She’ll seek out sponsors and focus on her platform of getting kids active — an issue she knows well as both a single mom and a teacher.

And some of that sponsorship money? She’ll donate to two charities she also knows well: The Fast Freddie Foundation and the Dempsey Centers.

Name: Nicole Chamberland

Age: 31

Town: Mechanic Falls

Family: Son, Mason (age 6)

Job: Special education teacher at Minot Consolidated School

What got you interested in the Miss Maine for America pageant? Miss Maine for America is a brand new division this year. I liked the idea of being one of the contestants who would be in the first class for this division. In the future, I hope to help future Miss Maine for America contestants navigate the ins and outs of the pageantry.

How will you spend the next months preparing? I plan on meeting with several potential sponsors in hopes that I can give back my time to them and their businesses. I want to focus on giving back to my community by volunteering, organizing and appearing at different events. I am also inspired by my platform, keeping kids moving, and have some business plans in the works that will be involving that!

What made you choose the title “Miss Androscoggin”? I was given the choice of the town that I currently live in or Androscoggin County. I grew up in Androscoggin County and I also currently live here, so I felt I could represent myself in all towns and not just the town I currently reside in.

What do you do when you aren’t preparing for Miss Maine for America? I am a mom, so being with my son is my number one priority and takes up most of my time. I teach three different style dance classes throughout the year, so I spend a lot of time choreographing. I teach a dance fitness class for staff at my school, a free dance class for students at my school grades pre-k to 6 and I also teach a booty pump class in Lewiston at SPRQ.

Have you told your students yet that you’re competing in a pageant? If so, how’d they react? My students had no reaction at all. They didn’t understand what I was talking about.

What portion of your sponsorship money are you hoping to donate to the Dempsey Centers and The Fast Freddie Foundation? I am hoping to give back as much as I can to both organizations.

Why those two charities in particular? The Dempsey Center was founded by my family in honor of my grandmother 10 years ago. Giving back to an organization who has not only impacted my life but the lives of so many others is something I want to be a part of. I want to be the reason someone is able to receive a free service from one of the Dempsey Centers.

The mission of the Fast Freddie Foundation is to inspire and provide young people with the tools to achieve personal successes by utilizing life skills learned through cycling. Through donating efforts of community members, Fast Freddie raises money to provide children with bikes that may not have the means to do so. I was lucky enough to have nine bikes donated to the students in my classroom this year. Seeing the looks on their faces is something I will never forget. I want to be able to be the reason a child receives a bike, which is why I want to donate.

What’s the best part about getting ready for a statewide pageant? It is hard to chose what the best part has been thus far. I am blown away by the support and positivity I have received. This pageant has also inspired me in ways I did not know I could be! I never considered myself an entrepreneur or someone who wanted to be a founder of a company, but after exploring and reflecting on my platform, I want to find ways to give back to kids in the form of movement and have plans in the works to do so.

What’s the most challenging part? The most challenging part has been asking monetary donations from sponsors. I am not someone who likes to ask others for anything, but knowing that I am not only using the money for aspects of the pageant but also giving back to charity helps.

Advice for girls who might want to be in a pageant someday? Sit back and take it all in once in a while. Reach out to your community members and find ways that you can volunteer. Support your fellow contestants, uplift each other and inspire one another.

Minot Consolidated School K-2 applied academics class students Miles Little, left, and Carter Palman, right, join teacher Nicole Chamberland in a yoga class on the video screen. Chamberland is competing in the Miss Maine for America Pageant with her platform centered on getting kids active. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Minot Consolidated School K-2 applied academics class students Shelby Horne, left, Miles Little, center, and Carter Palman, join teacher Nicole Chamberland in a yoga class on the video screen. Chamberland is competing in the Miss Maine for America Pageant with her platform centered on getting kids active. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Minot Consolidated School K-2 applied academics class student Miles Little joins teacher Nicole Chamberland in a yoga class on the video screen. Chamberland is competing in the Miss Maine for America Pageant with her platform centered on getting kids active. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Nicole Chamberland, a single mom and teacher at Minot Consolidated School, is competing in the Miss Maine for America Pageant. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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