On September 24, new royalty was crowned as Mena High School junior Jayzlee Bahr was crowned the 2016-2017 Miss Polk County Fair Queen. Jayzlee is the 17 year old daughter of Bill and Krystal Linch and Jason Bahr.
This was Jayzlee’s first pageant and said she felt astonishment, shock and ultimately, joy when they announced her as the winner, “It was a feeling like no other.” Jayzlee was among fierce competition as she and 7 other contestants vied for the coveted title and the privilege to represent their county.
Jayzlee said that ever since she was a little girl, she has viewed Miss Polk County as a major role model, “Getting the opportunity to fill the footsteps and take the responsibilities is a huge honor for me,” and one she takes very seriously. She shared that her platform is to “bring awareness to each and every person in our community that they can make a difference.”
Jayzlee identifies peer pressure and self esteem issues as being the main problems facing teenagers. Growing up, she explained, she has witnessed first-hand both boys and girls acting upon the account of being ‘cool,’ and feeling as if they are not good enough or do not belong. She believes each person should learn to love themself before they let someone else’s opinion be a part of their self image.
Jayzlee explained that she genuinely loves to be involved with both her school and her community. She is involved in Mena Ladycat volleyball, Velocity volleyball, Mena varisty cheer, track, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America), and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). She is an accomplished cheerleader, receiving the high honor of 2016-2017 All-American Cheerleader as well as serving as the junior captain.
She also has a strong passion for volleyball and credits the sport for teaching her many life lessons. “When I was 7, I attended a Little Cats volleyball camp. Ever since, I have had a burning passion for the sport and play it with my heart!” Jayzlee hopes to play at the next level, if it is God’s will.
Her hobbies outside of school include drawing, painting, photography, hiking, fishing, baking, volunteering time with children in Sunday school, and spending time with her family and friends.
Growing up in a large family of eight, three boys and three girls, Jayzlee describes her family as the modern day ‘Brady Bunch.’ She explained that the atmosphere of a large family has shaped her in many ways, “As you could assume, having so many siblings comes with controversy. But these small arguments have built up character and helped with being able to see things through others’ eyes. I will always appreciate this in life.”
Jayzlee’s aspiration in life is to pursue her dream of becoming an anesthesiologist, to help advance the medical field, and to travel to third world countries to help with medical care. She plans to begin this career after graduating in 2018.
The most influential person in Jayzlee pursuing this career has been her grandmother, who moved to the states from Thailand as a teenager. As a result, Jayzlee said her grandmother has overcome many hardships and adversities such as leaving her family, adapting to a new society, learning a new language, and earning her citizenship. Her grandmother’s strength and optimism have inspired Jayzlee to be the best person that she can be while working towards her dreams in the medical field and maybe some day returning to Thailand on a mission trip.
While Jayzlee’s life has been centered in Polk County, she said that no matter where life takes her, she will be proud “to call the beautiful and historic Mena, Arkansas my forever home. I have always appreciated the family like atmosphere and southern hospitality of the community.”