Meet our Miss Oshkosh 2016, Serena Larie

Hello everyone! My name is Serena Larie. It is a great honor to be your Miss Oshkosh 2016. I could not be more thrilled and will do my very best to do Oshkosh proud. As a third generation, born and raised Oshkosh native, I take great pride in our beautiful, vibrant and historic community.

I also take great pride in our city’s university, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, at which I am currently a sophomore majoring in Communication and minoring in Business Administration. One of the reasons I chose to pursue this course of study was its universality. Communication has consistently been identified as one of the top skills sought by employers and the potential career opportunities are limitless. I also believe my knowledge of business administration and community leadership will allow me to do what I am most passionate about: help others. Initially, I plan to work in a non-profit organization and advance my career through various opportunities to build strong individuals and communities.

G.I.V.E., which stands for Get Involved Via Engagement, is the personal platform I’ve chosen to promote through my year of service and beyond. The primary goal is to encourage people to actively engage in their communities. John F. Kennedy once challenged Americans to “ask what they could do for their country.” Similarly, my platform asks “what can you do for your community?” Giving has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, my mom always said I had a sixth sense. She called it “people sense.” Very early on I was drawn to people and to their “stories.” Each one was unique and interesting. I soon found that people who are engaged benefit not only their communities, but themselves as well.  The more involved I became in my beloved community, the more I saw the impact. Simply, people who GIVE have a sense of belonging, satisfaction and purpose which means happier, healthier people who are less susceptible to loneliness, isolation, and depression. And all of this, while helping others too, makes GIVE a win/win.

As Miss Oshkosh, I will educate people about the numerous ways they can engage in their community. Some of the ways I’ve been able to give are volunteering, supporting local events and shops, charitable giving, participating in fund raisers, performing in community theatre, mentoring youth, donating blood, casting my vote, being a guest speaker, as well as visiting and helping those in need. These are only some of the ways one can GIVE. I encourage everyone to find their own unique ways.

During the past year I’ve spoken to individuals, groups and students about the importance of GIVE and helped them identify ways they can make a difference for themselves and others. The middle school students were especially creative and   proud to wear their “I GIVE” stickers. On campus I’ve been able to GIVE as a Speaker Series chair and Titan Volunteers executive board member. My campus employment enables me to visit and report on community initiatives, meet community members and highlight the service our students provide during their final general education course, Quest III. Outside of my campus life, I am event staff at the Paine Art Center and Gardens. It is also my honor to be a voice and face for the Community Blood Center in both their marketing materials and as a guest speaker. The opportunities are truly endless.

I enjoy spending time furthering my platform and view each day as an opportunity to service others before myself. Truly a candle loses nothing by lighting the flame of another and witnessing the impact others make warms my heart. GIVE has become my story. Like Communication Studies, GIVE is universal. Everyone can G.I.V.E in some way. Oshkosh has many stories to tell and I hope to share as many of these as possible while encouraging new ones along the way. 

I would like to recognize the Women’s Association and the Miss Oshkosh Organization, directors, producers, technical crew, host moms, volunteers, media manager, sponsors, patrons, supporters and everyone else who’s kind contributions have continued to make this pageant what it is today. I appreciate your hard work and ever-flowing kindness. Love to beautiful Marilyn McCormick and Gordy Lund and forever remembered Gert Schultz.

Lastly, much love and thanks to those who have given me the most; my wise and supportive mom and dad, sister and brother-in-law Janelle and Jeremy, nephew and niece Evan and Ivy, brother and future sister-in-law, Grant & Deni, and my amazing cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and mentors. Shout out to special family friend, Michelle. You all know it has “taken a village to raise a Serena” and I love my village so much.

Fun Facts:

  • In 1944, my grandparents started Schoenberger’s Garden Market. I have been picking raspberries and serving customers for our family business for as long as I can remember.
  • My sister held the title of Miss Oshkosh ten years ago in 2006. We are also ten years apart in age and were each born on the 26th.
  • I plan to study abroad next year in Guatemala.
  • I recently recorded an original song “In This Room” for a Humans of Oshkosh project honoring teachers.
  • I love musical theater and am ALWAYS singing around the house. My favorite onstage roles are Jane in TARZAN and Maria in WEST SIDE STORY.

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