Cortland second grader competes at national event in Florida

CORTLAND — Cortland resident Isabella Grace Phillips will be competing this week in Orlando, Fla., as the Miss Ohio Princess title holder. Phillips, 7, a second-grader at Lakeview Elementary School, is vying for the national Princess title.

“This is an amazing opportunity for her and she has been working very hard. We are so thankful for all those who have helped get her as far as she has and want them to know that they are helping to build a future leader in her,” Jennifer Phillips said about her daughter.

Jennifer said Isabella, who is known to her friends as “Bella,” “is an extremely driven 7-year-old who always gives 110 percent in everything she does.”

Besides enjoying the pageant, Isabella also enjoys dancing, cheer, baton, reading and traveling.

When she was 5, she won the Miss Trumbull County Fair title. Since then, she has competed in other pageants and events every chance she gets, her mother said.

“I will admit that at first I was apprehensive to allow her to get into pageantry based on what I’ve seen on TV. However, after doing some research, I found a few systems that followed the same vision I had for raising my daughter,” Jennfier said.

She said lessons such as letting inner beauty shine, helping others, public speaking skills and striving to be the best version of yourself “were things that I wanted to build upon in her life.”

Jennifer said since becoming involved in pageants, Isabella has improved confidence, public speaking ability and is better at interacting with others. She is able to present her resume and complete job-style interviews with a judges panel, which has proven to be where she scores the best, Jennifer said.

“That’s a scary task for an adult, let alone a 7-year-old. To say we are proud of her is an understatement,” Jennifer said.

Isabella said she was appreciative of all the support she has received and those who helped her reach her big dream this week.