A few months ago Sarah and Patrick Alber moved to Shawnee from Washington with their five children and so far the family has enjoyed getting to know the community through volunteer work, events and competing in pageants.
According to mother and wife Sarah, four out of her five children have participated in pageants locally and in Washington including her four-year-old daughter Nevaeh, who recently won Royal International Miss Oklahoma Princess.
Sarah said Nevaeh has been doing pageantry for two years and it began with a benefit pageant for breast cancer in Washington in which she won.
"We didn't want to do the 'Toddler and Tiaras' pageants which there's nothing wrong with, it's just not us," Sarah said. "So we do semi-glitz pageants where points are deducted if she wears makeup. She's four she needs to be four."
Sarah's other children include 10-year-old Delila, three-year-old Aiden, two-year-old Gracelyn and seven-month-old Nicholas.
They all compete in pageants as well except Nicholas who Sarah said is still too young.
Sarah said she feels her children benefit greatly from pageantry because of the opportunities and characteristics it brings.
"We work on public speaking skills. They work on interview skills. We do a lot of community service and that's something that benefits us all as a family," Sarah said.
For Nevaeh being in pageants is fun and she likes winning, but also the friends she makes.
"I like that (pageants) build confidence and I like talking to my friends," Nevaeh said. "I do a lot of community service and I like dressing up."
Sarah said Nevaeh enjoys pageants quite a bit and wants to be a "doctor who catches babies" when she grows up.
Sarah explained her husband is active duty Army and a recruiter out of Shawnee and the family is getting more acquainted with the community.
"Here in Oklahoma we're still getting our names out there and that we as a family like to do community service and want to be involved with Shawnee," Sarah said. "We're letting the community know if there is something it wants us to be proactive in we want to do that."
In addition to Nevaeh, Sarah said her other children have competed and won titles in pageants.
"We had four in one pageant and it was a smaller benefit pageant for autism awareness," Sarah said.
While all of her children have won awards, Sarah said for her family pageantry is more than prizes and recognition.
"It's definitely more than crowns, trophies and titles because we gain so much more as a family than just crowns, titles and trophies," Sarah said.
Sarah explained Nevaeh has been in several pageants both in Washington and in Oklahoma.
The mother of five said Nevaeh will be in the Shawnee Christmas parade as the current Royal International Miss Princess title holder.
"We've done about 10 (pageants). We've done three state level, one national level and then a bunch of miscellaneous smaller benefit pageants," Sarah said.
Nevaeh, Sarah said attends Shawnee Early Childhood Education Center and her siblings attend Pleasant Grove Public Schools and Crossroads Headstart.
Sarah said the family often spends their weekends competing or participate in the community.
"There's a lot of pageants here in Oklahoma so it has been nice to get involved," Sarah said. "We kind of jumped in both feet forward since we got here."
As time goes on, Sarah said she hopes to get more involved in the community and in local pageants as well as instill confidence and encouragement into her children as they grow up.
"It's tough. There's so much I want for all of my children...but I hope that they can see how much (pageants) do benefit them," Sarah said. "We just hope that they utilize these public speaking skills (and) these interview skills...We want to support positive pageantry."