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Lao Teen Queen Mariah Rattanasamay Steps Up against Bullying

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It can be hard tackling bullying while balancing in heels and wearing a crown. With studies reporting that bullying affects Asian American students more than any other race, points to the fact that bullying in schools is real. Much of the media and experts point to parents, educators, and policymakers to shake up the culture of bullying.

Miss Teen Brooklyn Park, Mariah Rattanasamay,  is breaking ground as a role model for her classmates and beauty queens all around. She’s an advocate in anti-bullying at Park Center Senior High School and she’s representing one of the most diverse cities with one of the largest Lao student populations in Minnesota. Not very many of us can claim we were as active as Mariah as a teen, but take note of the emerging qualities of a young leader in the making. LLOTP caught up with the busy teen as she talks about her reign, school life, and preparing for post-graduation.

Tell us briefly about yourself. How was it growing up in your family, and what are your aspirations post-High School?

My name’s Mariah Rattanasamay. I am 18 years old. I’m currently a Senior at Park Center Senior High School. I did the Post Secondary Education Option full time for both my junior and senior year of high school. I attended North Hennepin Community College and the University of Minnesota. I have been award to be in the National Society of High School Scholars and was the only one chosen from my school.

I am indescribably thankful for the family I was given. They’re my backbone, support system and my personal cheerleaders. I would be completely lost without them. They are always the most supportive and always by my side at all times. My family gives me the most love and warmest feeling ever.

My aspirations for post-high school are to continue going to college. I plan on majoring in Biochemistry & Biotechnology.  I hope to continue making a difference and volunteering for issues I care deeply about. I’m a big go getter so nothing will get in my way of my goals and dreams.

What does it mean for you to be crowned Miss Teen Brooklyn Park? 

I am gratefully honored to be chosen as Miss Teen Brooklyn Park International of 2013. . I want to be able to promote my platform of children facing bullying in their everyday lives. I know that all girls say they want to be a role model for someone, but when I say role model, I take it to heart. I think that many teens in my community are going in the wrong direction in life due to peer pressure. I feel that with this title it will help me promote my values on an even bigger scale and many teens would listen to others their own age. My platform is very personal to me.

 Why is it important for Lao youth to be involved in issues they care about? 

It’s important for the Lao youth to speak out on important issues that are important to them because they can be making a difference. Many people think they can’t do it but they can if they just set their mind to it! No one can change the world all by themselves, but if we can conjure up a team and continue working together, we can all make a difference to help change the world. I believe that hard work pays off. Anything is achievable as long as you set your mind to it.

What do you think encourages Lao teens the most to get involved and seek out their culture?

Life is full of many various challenges. What encourages Lao teens to get involved is seeing OTHER Lao teens get involved. I know that when I was younger all I ever saw was adults making a difference, so one day I said, “I want to be the one to make a difference.” Since then many other teens have been working with me and talking with me about what they can do in their community and from all the feedback I get, they love it!

How can parents help Lao youth understand where they come from?

Lao parents can help by speaking with the Lao youth and explaining where they came from. I love sitting down with my family and talking about when my parents or grandparents were kids and what they went through and how what they went through got them to where they are now.

You’ve been working on an anti-bullying campaign called “Step Up So Others Won’t Get  Stepped On”. Tell us a bit more about it and why this is an important issue to promote in schools?
My personal experience has made me who I am. My goal is to help other victims of bullying, which is a huge problem today, and let them know they are not alone. The first step to helping victims is promoting more anti-bullying awareness. I like to look on the bright side of things, wha thappened to be made me believe that I was here to help STOP any further bullying. I want children to know, they CAN speak up, do not be embarassed to speak out, and continuously help yourself AND others.  I never want anyone else go ever go through bullying, because it makes you feel the worse of yourseld. I know I can’t change the world by myself, but I can convince others to join me to make a difference. So if we can all step up, others won’t get stepped on.

What do you think should be on our community’s radar?
I think our community should be watching for bullying and peer pressure. It’s a rising problem in Today’s generation.

You recently visited Laos during New Year’s. Was it your first time? How was the experience? 

I recently visited Laos, but it was not my first time going to Laos. However, it was my first time going to Lao New Year! The experience was extremely fun and I cannot wait to go again. It was quite a change to come from 100 degrees to 30 degrees when I first got back!

Talk about one dream project you would love to be a part of?

I would love to be a part of ALL dream projects, but right now what I have in mind is continuing to raise awareness in Bullying EVERYWHERE. I want to be able to empower individuals to embrace their individuality and uniqueness while still simultaneously standing up against bullying.

MissTeenBrooklynParkMariah

Where can people find more information about you?

You can find more information about me at:

www.missteenbrooklynpark2013.weebly.com

www.facebook.com/stepupsootherswontgetsteppedon

and feel free to email me any questions you may have at:

missteenbrooklynpark2013@gmail.com

-Chanida P. Potter

littlelaosontheprairie@gmail.com

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