Miss Spirit discovers passion, plans future

A local student known for her participation in “Miss Summer Moon” has discovered a joy in helping others find the perfect dress for special occasions.

Haley Aldrich, 17, of Wapakoneta, said there is one main reason why she enjoys working at Simply Elegant Formals in town —

“I’m a huge girly girl,” Haley said. “I love working with the new brides, bridesmaids and mothers. It’s always a fun experience watching them pick out their bridal gown and coming back to pick out their bridesmaids.”

Haley said she enjoys having a role in “the biggest part of their life” by assisting future brides in finding “the dress.”

“Usually the bride will have a bunch of girls with her,” Haley said. “They’ll look at her and ask, ‘are you saying yes to the dress?’ and that’s the big moment.”

One of four employees, including the owners, Haley works in the front of the store with customers, she answers phone calls, stocks inventory, works the register and “pretty much anything else that needs done.”

One of her biggest jobs at the shop is giving her opinion to brides who are trying on dresses.

“Especially if they come in by themselves — the bride depends on you,” Haley said.

Admitting the temptation of trying on the extravagant gowns, Haley said there are perks to working in a bridal store.

Haley was able to borrow one of the ball gowns and a tiara for “Hometown Holiday” this year, where she participated as one of the princesses for the tea party.

Haley started working at Simply Elegant last year, after shopping at the store for her “Miss Summer Moon” pageant dress.

Haley said she has been in the pageant for the past two years, and she is planning to continue in 2014.
Haley placed as “Miss Spirit” last year.

“You’re in the papers, so you’re considered a local celebrity,” Haley said, noting how little girls look up to the pageant “princesses” as role models.

Haley said being involved with the pageant means being involved with the community and major events that are going on, including “Relay for Life.”

Haley and the rest of the “Dazzling Dozen” stick together from April until the pageant takes place in July, so they have the opportunity to create bonds and help each other through Miss Summer Moon.

“I like the experience, and it’s college money, too,” Haley said. “If you place, you win a scholarship.”

Haley has already begun making plans for her college career.

Haley said she is planning to stay local for the first two years in college to obtain her Associates in Nursing, at Rhodes State College, for which she has already been accepted.

After completing her associates, she said she wants to go to OSU in Columbus for a Bachelors in Nursing, with her focus in Obstetrics.

“I’ve always loved being around babies and kids,” Haley said, noting that she is hoping to do some job shadowing this summer.

While she is looking forward to pursuing her degree, Haley said she wants to return to live in Wapakoneta.

“I want to stay local and work in Lima,” Haley said. “I like Wapak.”

While she is looking forward to the future, Haley still makes time for her extracurriculars — noting one in particular she is passionate about — dance.

Currently studying lyrical, hip hop and jazz, Haley said she has been dancing at The Dance Centre since she was 4 years old.

“Dance is the biggest part of my life,” Haley said. “I like getting up on stage, I like the adrenaline rush — seeing all of the people out there watching you.”

Haley said she enjoys forming relationships within her dance teams.

“All of my closest friends are in dance,” Haley said. “We get to know each other better from dance.”

If given the opportunity, Haley said she will participate in a dance team in college.

Haley is involved in many other extracurriculars, mainly focused around music. She has been involved in choir for six years, and she is currently involved in the “Red Peppers,” the back up band for the Wapakoneta Show Choir.

One of her favorite passions is playing the trumpet, she said. Haley participates in band.

“I like being noticed as a musician,” Haley said. “I love the sound of the trumpet.”

Haley is the daughter of Kim and Jim Aldrich. She has one brother, Jacob Aldrich, 13, and she is the granddaughter of Larry and Irene Pummel, of Wapakoneta, and George and Myra Aldrich, of Wapakoneta.