City Star Article on Tara Bollinger
the evening of October 19, 2002, the audience at Black River Coliseum,
in the city of Poplar Bluff welcomed Miss West County USA, Tara
Bollinger. Tara is
a 23 year old Summa Cum Laude graduate of Lindenwood University
where she earned a degree in Mass Communications/ TV Broadcasting
and Spanish. Tara's academic accomplishments include four years
on the Dean's List, a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Fraternity,
receiving the All-American Collegiate Award and scholarships from
the MO Press Club and Journalism Foundation. She is also an alumni
of the Chi Omega sorority. She continues her education by studying
abroad and spent time in the spring of 2002 attending language school
in Costa Rica.
has spent the last year working as a motivational speaker for middle
and high school students. Her
enthusiastic message about goal setting and positive choices have
captivated over 35,000 students in the US and Australia.
She tackles issues such as alcohol, drugs and sexual health
in a way that makes students think before making a decision.
addition to working with young people, Tara actively promotes the
Project Reality education curriculum "AC Green's Game Plan"
by training teachers. She also works for additional education
funding on the state and national level.
Tara had the opportunity to meet with every legislative office
from Missouri, except one and the Senate finance committee offices
to promote increasing of Title V education funding.
met with doctors from the Center for Disease Control and numerous
health department officials to better understand the rising number
of sexually transmitted disease cases. She has used this knowledge to co-author a book
- The Best of Teen Success. Tara was also a featured speaker at the 2001
International Abstinence Conference in Miami attended by over 700
educators from 48 states and 16 countries.
has completed over 6000 hours of Community Service, including missions
trips to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic
and Jamaica. Tara worked with such organizations as Habitat
for Humanity, Feed the Children, Samaritan's Purse, Touch Australia
and Splash Inner-City Children's Ministry. She helped implement Rage Against Destruction
- a nationally touring high school anti-violence assembly program
that has reached over 100,000 young people.
is the daughter of Mark and Renee Bollinger.
She has one sister, a black Labrador retriever named Zoe. In her own words she says this about her family, "My entire
family, not just my parents, have been my biggest fans and supporters.
They have come faithfully to so many events over the years
and I am truly blessed to have had such encouragement.
One of the greatest gifts in my life is my family and I do
not think I would be the young women I am without them."
asked to choose three words that best describe her, Tara chose:
character, passionate and giving. Tara said her favorite quote is,
"All things are possible to him (or her) who believes."
Her philosophy on life is, "If you don't stand for something,
you'll fall for anything. I
believe if you go through life without developing respect for yourself,
your goals or your body, you will give into any kind of pressure
or negative choice. The way to be empowered, especially as
young women, is to first realize that we are valuable and worth
respecting. That kind
of attitude develops strength of character and courage which allows
you to pursue an incredible future, even in the face of peer pressure
or fear of failure."
plans to spend her year as Miss Missouri USA empowering young people
to make positive choices through speaking at school assemblies,
community organizations and youth groups. She will also work with the American Cancer
Society and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to promote Breast