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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:27 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Miss Arizona, a Prescott native, to use pageant title for advocacy

Courtesy photo<br>
Miss Arizona Piper Stoeckel will be in the Prescott rodeo parade 9 a.m. Saturday, June 30.

Courtesy photo<br> Miss Arizona Piper Stoeckel will be in the Prescott rodeo parade 9 a.m. Saturday, June 30.

Piper Stoeckel, 22, a native of Prescott and the recently crowned 2012 Miss Arizona, walked into the local Wild Iris coffee shop Tuesday looking every inch a beauty queen as she sat down to talk. However, as she told her story, it became clear she was more than a beauty pageant winner.

"I had a couple of friends (through dancing competitions), and one of them was Jennifer Sedler (Miss Arizona 2011, and third runner-up in the 2012 Miss America pageant). I saw the great things she was doing through the Children's Miracle Network. I was a senior in college and looking for a way to give back."

Stoeckel found a way to give back - big. After pursuing and winning the Miss Tucson Valley title, she was eligible to compete in the 2012 Miss Arizona Pageant. Now, as the reigning Miss Arizona, she will represent the state and advocate for abused children through her platform, Break the Silence: Helping Child Abuse Victims Find Their Voice.

"I think one of the things the judges saw in me was how relevant my platform is. You have to have a purpose and a mission for a cause, or you will fail. If any girl takes this on as a self-seeking opportunity to be glamorized, to seek the crown and the fame ... that's not what it's about," she said.

"Everybody looks and says, 'Piper won a beauty pageant, isn't that wonderful?'" Stoeckel remarks as she mimics the robotic beauty queen wave and purposely fakes a smile. "I don't need that. I don't want to be applauded as a beauty queen."

It is best used as a marketing tool for being a goodwill ambassador, "a community servant," said Stoeckel, who will compete in the Miss America Pageant this coming January.

The Miss Arizona Organization provides no "glamour cash." Stoeckel buys her own clothes or rents them. She does her own scheduling, promotion for her cause, and pays for her own gas driving to appearances and events.

"We decide where to go often by what is relevant to our platform. We do appearances for businesses that sponsor us for our platform, (children's advocacy centers) and for the Children's Miracle Network.

"One of the advantages of the Miss America Organization is we are given all responsibilities so we are able to grow not only as an individual, but as a business woman. Businesses and charities contact me but I also have to reach out to them."

For the past year, Stoeckel has been advocating through Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center. She volunteered her time alon side a prevention specialist, working with victims of child abuse. She spoke to middle school and preschool children on the importance of speaking out if they are being abused. She is the Advocacy Center's youngest board member.

Stoeckel received $5,000 in scholarship funds from winning the Miss Arizona crown. She plans to use the money to pursue a graduate degree after the Miss America Pageant. She is currently studying journalism at the University of Arizona and has an interest in broadcast journalism.

"My brother just left for Afghanistan. He's serving our country. I want to serve our state. His is different, but I want to serve selflessly and with the same courage and dedication," she said.