Saturday, April 18, 2009

Exeter New's Letter Front Page article next to Janine Mitchell

EHS grad Alicia Rossman competes for Miss New Hampshire title
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By Jennifer Feals
April 17, 2009 6:00 AM

More than 13 million children in America go hungry each year. While the exact number of children in New Hampshire is not known, statistics show that 29,000 children live in poverty in the state.

Alicia Rossman of Brentwood, current Miss Lakes Region, is tackling this devastating issue of hungry children and hopes to continue doing so as Miss New Hampshire. Rossman is an Exeter High School graduate and currently a nutrition major at the University of New Hampshire.

"It's disheartening to know that people in America, one of the wealthiest countries, are going to bed hungry. Food is something that's a basic need for everybody," Rossman said. "It's been an issue since the Great Depression, and if it's been happening for that many years, why hasn't it been fixed?"

This is Rossman's fourth time competing for the Miss New Hampshire title. Rossman, who placed in the top 10 last year, said she is competing this year with past experience under her belt and is using that knowledge to compete stress-free, hoping it will take her to the top.

By competing in the pageant, along with 25 other contestants, Rossman has the potential to win over $15,000 in scholarships and the chance to compete in Las Vegas for the title of Miss America. Candidates are judged based on a 10-minute interview, stage presence, and lifestyle, fitness and talent competitions.

"It really is such a great opportunity and can set you up for so many things," Rossman said. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime."

To prepare for the competition, which takes place April 30 through May 2, Rossman has been eating healthy, hitting the gym and gearing up her vocal chords for the talent competition. Rossman will sing, "I Was Here," by country band Lady Antebellum, a song she feels was written for this competition.

The song was Team America's Olympic theme song and has been used in commercials for the American Cancer Society's Breast Cancer walk.

"It's almost like I went to Nashville and sat down with a song writer; like we sat down to chat over lunch about my life story and a week later the writer sent me the song he wrote for me," Rossman said. "Everything about the song is perfect. I'm hoping to nail it on the Miss New Hampshire stage."

For her Miss New Hampshire platform "Share Our Strength: It Takes More than Food to Fight Hunger," but also for the love of nutrition and spreading the importance of healthy eating, Rossman is very involved in initiatives in her community. She works on the UNH campus as a transit driver, as well as for the Whole Grains Council, and has completed over 2,000 hours of community service in the past four years.

Rossman recently conducted research that the council will present in Washington, D.C., The research involved visiting local Hannaford supermarkets and conducted an analysis of the amount of whole grains - as opposed to refined grains - offered in products.

During a recent visit to the nation's capitol, Rossman visited the national Share Our Strength office where she met cofounders Bill and Debbie Shore. Rossman said she came back to New Hampshire with new ideas and an increased appreciation for the organization's work.
Among the local organizations Rossman volunteers at are the New Hampshire Food Bank, the Cross Roads House in Portsmouth and the Great American Bake Sale for which she has raised $4,000.

If she wins Miss New Hampshire, Rossman said she would continue spreading the message of nutrition and hunger awareness. She would be a visible Miss New Hampshire who will be active in her community and keep her community aware of what she is doing, for example, through the blog she already maintains.

"It would be a great opportunity to talk to children and others, and to make more people aware of my platform," she said. "I would take advantage of that time as much as I could."
For more information on Rossman and her Miss New Hampshire journey, visit her blog at Anyone interested in hosting a bake sale or food drive can contact Rossman at

To purchase tickets to the Miss New Hampshire competition, visit or call 437-9027.

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