by Terry Rogers
The reigning Mrs. Milford, Jennifer Wilson, says that a friend who was Mrs. Delaware a few years ago encouraged her to enter the pageant world. Despite not seeing herself as a pageant person, Wilson decided to enter the pageant because she thought it would be fun. She won the Mrs. Milford pageant and will now compete in the Mrs. Delaware pageant. As a former high school special education teacher, Ms. Wilson has decided to use her success in the pageant world to promote early literacy.
“I see so many students who never had the opportunity to read at home,” Wilson said. “Far too many children are missing the joys of stories and the printed word that paves the way to strong literacy skills. I see so many students who say they hate reading because it is too hard. When asked how much they practice at home, the response is always never.”
Wilson was born in Wilmington and has been a Delaware resident her entire life. She graduated from Sussex Central High School in 1996 and earned both a bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Wilmington University. She is currently the special education transition coordinator for Milford School District. She has been married for 13 years to Mark Wilson, who graduated from Milford High School and the couple has three children, Austin, 10, Kate, 6, and Savannah, 2.
“We own a small but successful Arabian horse farm that we founded in 2004,” Wilson said. “We have bred numerous Regional and National Champion Arabian show horses and have sold foals all over the country and overseas. In 2015, one of our mares gave birth to unexpected twins. After some major Hollywood-style dramatic events, both colts survived, and I began to write a fictional teen’s book based on their journey of survival. The manuscript is under review with many top New York literary agencies, although I have received my fair share of rejections as well. I also wrote and illustrated a children’s coloring and story book that was a 2017 Equus Film Festival Award Winner.”
Wilson’s dream is to use her books to introduce children to wonderful stories at an early age. She states that children can relate to struggles of survival or the acceptance of the twin colts as well as enjoy the coloring aspect that brings children back to the story over and over again. Wilson is reaching out to businesses to sponsor donations in order to send the books to hospitals, children’s hospitals, early learning centers and early education classrooms. Her goal is to spread the books nationwide and encourage students to read.
If she wins Mrs. Delaware America, Wilson will travel to Las Vegas in August for the Mrs. America pageant.
“If I don’t win, I think I will leave the pageantry to my daughter, Kate, who is a former Little Miss Milford,” Wilson said. “She is far more natural at this than I am. So far, I have not been required to attend specific events, but we have been invited to several appearances. The best part of winning this award has been meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. It has been a wonderful experience of support and friendship. And it is just the beginning. However, as a mother of three with a demanding educational career, as well as the owner/operator of a horse farm, I scramble to find time to be as active in the pageant as I should be. It is a much larger time commitment than I ever could have realized, but I am figuring it out as I go.”
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