Miss Teen Ponoka County proved she is just as much at home pouring tea and serving sandwiches, as she is wearing beautiful gowns and wowing the judges with her dazzling smile and deep blue eyes.
Anne-Marie Rogers-Cooper spent a few hours April 6 helping Valerie Ray, owner of Specialty Teas in Rimbey, serve refreshments and was available for photos and to sign autographs. Her time in Specialty Teas was part of a fundraiser for Save the Children.
As a finalist in the Miss Teen Canada World pageant, she is required to do fundraising for the pageant’s charity of choice.
Raising enough funds for Save the Children could move Rogers-Cooper into one of the top 20 spots in the pageant and make her one step closer to the title of Miss Teen Canada World.
Save the Children is an independent organization creating change in lives of children around the world. When disaster strikes, Save the Children is there with food, medical care and education. They remain to help communities with long-term recovery programs.
Taking a few minutes to chat between customers, Rogers-Cooper explained she has optic neuritis in both eyes, an optic nerve inflammation causing blurred vision.
“I just woke up with it one morning when I was 14,” she said.
After five months in the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, her vision returned partially to her right eye but she could see almost nothing out of her left eye.
Optic neuritis is rare, said Rogers-Cooper. “I was only the 21st person in Alberta to be diagnosed and there were only 346 diagnosed across the world (at that time).
While her vision has largely corrected itself, the teen found herself an outsider when she returned back to finish her Grade 8 year.
“I didn’t know what was going on, I had missed half the year, I wasn’t in the loop.”
Rogers-Cooper decided to enter the pageants as a confidence booster and found she really enjoyed them as well, as always coming home with a placing of no less than third.
Rogers-Cooper was honored to receive the title of Miss Teen Ponoka County World in January at the Calgary qualifier for Miss Teen Canada World beauty pageant. She is looking forward to going to the Nationals in Toronto in July where she will compete against 70 or 80 teens from across Canada.
“Going to nationals is a great opportunity. I want to show the rest of Canada what Ponoka (County) has to offer and want the country to know how supportive my community is.”
When she is not busy competing in pageants, Rogers-Cooper is a Girl Guide leader and participates in youth groups. She has plans to study to be a forensic scientist.
She is the daughter of Cory and Kim Powers and the oldest of siblings, Emily Rogers, 13, Ben Rogers, nine and Vayda Powers, two. The family is from Ponoka.