Jessica Cooper, senior at Desert Vista High School, as the Sugarplum Fairy for the upcoming Ahwatukee Foothills Nutcracker Ballet 2013 to be performed Dec. 20 and 21.

Submitted photo

Jessica Cooper, a senior at Desert Vista High School, is preparing for her upcoming competition where she will be competing for the 2014 Miss Teen Arizona USA Pageant crown.

This will be the first pageant Cooper has been involved with, and her loved ones were the influence on the decision.

“I kind of just did it this year to try something new. I really don’t know what to expect, but it’s just a new experience,” she said.

The new experience has been helpful for Cooper in different aspects of life like having better social skills and having better time management.

She already had a firm grasp on time management, being that she is involved in different things such as being an honor student, dancing for Dance Studio 111, and preparing for her upcoming Nutcracker performance.

Cooper said she tends to function to her full potential when she has more than one obligation on her plate, and enjoys having such a hectic schedule.

“When I’m busy I actually get a lot more done than just not having anything… School is first for me, but I prioritize my time,” she said.

Cooper’s mother, Rebecca, said her daughter was trying to find something new to get involved with during her senior year, and began researching about different pageants in the area.

“She called Casting Crowns, which is the production company that does the Miss Arizona Pageant. They sent her all the information and she fit the criteria for everything and was able to come in on the title for Miss Ahwatukee, which took place over the summer,” Rebecca said. “I think it’s showing her how to present herself in a new way… I think it’s a great opportunity for her.”

While participating in the pageant, Cooper has enjoyed meeting new friends and is having fun not taking it too seriously, while enjoying her new surroundings.

The pageant will take place the weekend after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29 –Dec. 1, at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St.

During the first night of the pageant, each contestant will attend a fundraiser sporting a cocktail dress, while the next night they will conduct interviews, perform for the judges, and compete in the formal dress and bathing suit competitions.

Winners will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Cooper is currently undecided on whether she will compete in other pageants in the near future.

Other than performing in the pageant, she enjoys dancing and has been doing it since she was 3 years old.

Cooper has competed in different dance competitions throughout her seven years at Dance Studio 111, and will be starring in this year’s Ahwatukee Foothills “Nutcracker Ballet,” where she will star as the Sugarplum Fairy.

“I’ve always loved ballet and it has always been my favorite form of dance.”

Being that Cooper will be graduating next May, she made the decision to star as the Sugarplum Fairy to cap off her last year at Desert Vista.

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