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MoxieTalk with Kirt Jacobs

Kirt Jacobs is the host and producer of MoxieTalk, a talk show that gives an intimate look into the courage, character and defining moments of today’s most inspiring individuals.
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Now displaying: May, 2024
May 27, 2024

Edelen, a native of Springfield, Kentucky, grew up in a financially challenged household while her mother battled a brain tumor throughout her childhood.

As a Washington County High School student, Edelen found solace in her family and consumer sciences teacher, Sarah Raikes, who influenced her to apply for the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars program. Edelen’s childhood experience is one of the main reasons she chose to be open and vulnerable in her role as Miss Kentucky to show Kentuckians what is possible through mentorship, scholarship opportunities, & dreaming big.

When Edelen graduated from high school & found herself at Northern Kentucky University, she jumped in with both feet. The first-generation college student was nothing short of heavily involved during her time on campus. She was a resident assistant (RA), an orientation leader, the vice president of public relations and later president of NKU’s Student Government Association, a member of NKU’s Board of Regents, vice president of operations for her Kappa Delta Sorority Eta Eta Chapter and an intern in NKU’s Office of Government, Corporate and Foundation Engagement.

“I always think of NKU as home base for me. I came to NKU not knowing a single person, and I had to create a community up here, which I was excited about,” she says. “The way NKU embraced me and the opportunities it gave me was amazing. The type of people who work at NKU would bend over backward to help you succeed. It was like family to me, & I’m so thankful for that. I couldn’t imagine having a better experience during my undergraduate career.”

When Edelen planned her post-NKU future, she considered public policy and worked as a communications intern for the City of Covington. She was also a state General Assembly intern, but her trajectory changed while working in Washington, D.C., as a public policy congressional intern. After experiencing a life-changing relationship with a teacher, she realized her passion was for children and education.

“Even though I had a great experience, I just didn’t feel like I was able to connect with kids and make a meaningful impact like I wanted to,” Edelen says.

During her senior year, Edelen began working as an instructional assistant at Holmes Middle School within the Covington Independent School District. After graduating from NKU in 2020 with degrees in communication and history, she began a two-year contract with Teach for America, an alternative certification program for teachers. She taught social studies and English to sixth graders.

“This experience has shown me that I can contribute to this world. I’m thinking about myself as a contributor in this world & how we all can be that—regardless of your background.

We can make a meaningful impact, and as long as you’re leading authentically and lovingly, I think other people will see that, too.”

Edelen is no stranger to being on stage. While juggling teaching and competing in several local and regional pageants, she earned her ticket to the Miss Kentucky competition in 2022. Considering her passion for children, it’s no surprise that Edelen chose an initiative involving education: Read Ready Kentucky, which is inspired by the local Covington initiative Read Ready Covington. During Edelen’s time working for the city, she became passionate about the cause and brought this initiative across the state in collaboration with Mayor Joe Meyer.

“Read Ready Kentucky is a social impact initiative,” she says. “Every young woman has a social impact initiative. It’s a passion they speak to, & for me, it’s reading and education. How can we, as a community, help what’s happening within our schools?”

And now Read Ready Kentucky has taken off—it’s a registered nonprofit organization that focuses on literacy and teaching children how to use their skills to impact those around them. Read Ready Kentucky partnered with the Covington Police Department for Read with Covington PD, an event that distributed free books and activities to kids for the summer. The program also partnered with the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana to create a Read Ready Kentucky patch available to more than 20,000 Girl Scouts in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Edelen hopes to create little libraries across the state of Kentucky.

“I have a great group of people who are also passionate about reading, and together we’ve done many different things,” she says. “I’m just thankful to have a lot of people around me who believe in me and want to see my visions come to life.”

Those visions don’t end with her title. Edelen, who always enjoyed writing, completed her master’s in education policy and evaluation from the University of Kentucky and wanted to publish children’s books. So, Hank the Horse was born. “Hank the Horse and the Case of the Missing Eggs” is a book about information literacy, and it’s all about kids questioning what they hear.

“When you grow up in rural Kentucky, and your internet access is limited, you find ways to keep yourself busy,” she says. “I loved writing short stories. I wanted to write a book, and I was inspired by the last election and how many people were accepting information as is but not questioning it. I felt that is an important skill we should teach kids—not to accept everything as fact.”

After the success of her first book, Edelen recently published a second one, “Hank the Horse and Kentucky Proud,” which was created in honor of her two nieces.

“My two nieces, Madelynn and Taylor, are my brother’s children; I love them so much. They’re so special to my life, and I wanted other kids—little farm kids—to feel represented in a children’s book. So, in this book, they go on a journey and learn all about what Kentucky proud is.”

As her time as Miss Kentucky ends this summer, Edelen looks forward to creating educational opportunities across the state—and eventually throughout the country—in any way she can. That’s why she called her platform Read, Ready, America when she competed in the Miss America competition in December.

But her aspirations don’t end there. One day, she’d like to be the U.S. Secretary of Education.

“I’m hoping to take this experience and make it something bigger than just a sash and a crown,” she says. “This experience has shown me that I can contribute to this world. I’m thinking about myself as a contributor and how we all can be that—regardless of your background. We can make a meaningful impact, and as long as you’re leading authentically and lovingly, I think other people will see that, too.”

It’s worth noting that the Miss Kentucky title is part of a more extensive pageant system that often includes the Miss America Organization or the Miss USA Organization, among others.

These competitions are annual events, and titleholders can change every year. Therefore, it’s possible that Hannah Edelen could be a recent titleholder or contestant after my last update.

Miss Kentucky pageants generally include various rounds of competition, such as interview, swimsuit or fitness, evening wear, and talent, depending on the specific organization.

The winners often receive scholarship money and go on to represent Kentucky in national competitions, such as Miss America or Miss USA.

Beyond that, they usually engage in various activities, including public appearances, charity work, and advocacy for social issues.

May 20, 2024

Randy Travis is an American country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor. He was born Randy Bruce Traywick on May 4, 1959, in Marshville, North Carolina.

He is one of the key figures in the country music genre, particularly famous for his contributions to the neotraditional country movement of the 1980s and 1990s.

Travis gained prominence when country music was veering towards a pop-influenced sound, and he is credited with helping to bring the genre back to its traditional roots.

Randy Travis gained fame with his debut album, “Storms of Life,” released in 1986. The album was a commercial and critical success, featuring hits such as “On the Other Hand” and “1982.”

Throughout his career, he has released over 20 studio albums and charted over 50 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including sixteen that reached the No. 1 spot.

Songs like “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “I Told You So,” and “Three Wooden Crosses” are considered staples in the country music genre.

Travis has won numerous awards, including Grammy Awards, Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, and Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards.

His influence in the genre has been recognized through various lifetime achievement awards, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

In addition to his music career, Randy Travis has acted in various films and television shows, including roles in movies like “The Rainmaker” (1997) and TV series such as “Touched by an Angel.”

Unfortunately, Travis suffered from a severe stroke in 2013, which significantly impacted his ability to perform and led to a period of rehabilitation. Since then, his public appearances have been limited, but he has made efforts to return to the public eye, including occasional performances and involvement in the release of his memoir, “Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life,” in 2019.

May 13, 2024

Billy Gilman is an American singer known for his country and pop music career. He gained national attention at the young age of 11 with the release of his debut album “One Voice,” which was certified double Platinum in the United States. The album’s title track became a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, making Gilman one of the youngest performers ever to have a hit song on the country charts. Born William Wendell Gilman III on May 24, 1988, in Westerly, Rhode Island, he was interested in music from a young age and was encouraged by his family to pursue his talent.

Career Milestones:

  1. Early Career: Gilman was discovered by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, who helped him get a recording contract with Epic Records.
  2. Initial Success: His debut album “One Voice” was released in 2000, earning him a Grammy nomination, among other accolades.
  3. Subsequent Releases: After the success of his debut, he released additional albums like “Dare to Dream” (2001) and “Music Through Heartsongs” (2003), although these did not replicate the success of his debut.
  4. Transition to Adult Career: As he matured, his voice changed, which presented a challenge for his career as a country artist. During this period, he took a hiatus to reassess his career and vocal style.
  5. Public Coming Out: In 2014, Gilman publicly came out as gay. He has since become an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has discussed the challenges of being a gay artist in the country music industry.
  6. The Voice: In 2016, Gilman appeared on the eleventh season of the American TV show “The Voice,” where he was a contestant on Team Adam Levine. He ended up as the runner-up, and his performances garnered significant attention and revived interest in his career.
  7. Recent Projects: Post-“The Voice,” Gilman has continued to record music, shifting more towards the pop and adult contemporary genres. He has released singles and has been active on social media platforms to engage with his fans.

Influence and Legacy:

Billy Gilman’s early success helped pave the way for other young artists in the country music scene. However, his career trajectory also serves as a cautionary tale about the challenges child stars may face as they transition into adulthood. His coming out and advocacy work have also contributed to the ongoing conversation about LGBTQ+ representation in country music.

He has won several awards and accolades throughout his career, and his story continues to captivate both fans and the media alike.

May 6, 2024

Grace Stanke is studying Nuclear Engineering at the University of Wisconsin and plays the classical violin. She is also a competitive waterskier, loves to travel, and is a foodie.

Grace’s world changed in January 2023; after 3 action-packed nights showcasing talent, interview skills, and social impact achievements, representing her home state as Miss Wisconsin, she was crowned 2023 Miss America. She awarded $50,000 in scholarship assistance for winning.

Miss America’s primary function is to serve as an inspiration and role model for young women while sharing her passion and life story and continuing the legacy of the Miss America competition.

This was the 3rd time Wisconsin had been crowned Miss America in the illustrious history of the iconic institution.

Grace was left speechless on stage to a standing ovation at the 101st Anniversary Miss America competition Thursday night inside the award-winning Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

As 2023 Miss America, Stanke, 20, will earn an appearance contract and travel throughout the US during her reign as a representative of Miss America.

Stanke, who earned a cumulative total of $68,000+ in scholarship as an “instance through” her state and Miss America competitions, will use her national platform to continue advocating for “Clean Energy – Cleaner Future.” Stanke is in her senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is currently majoring in nuclear engineering. Her social impact initiative aims to dispel myths about nuclear energy and”inspire the next generation of female scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. For the talent portion of the competition, Stanke performed a piece from “Vivaldi’s Summer/Four Seaso”s – Storm” on her electric lin.

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