'You're able to do more than you think': Meet Ruby Marti, Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen 2023

Ruby Marti is crowned Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen Nov. 5 in Wisconsin Rapids.
Ruby Marti is crowned Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen Nov. 5 in Wisconsin Rapids.

WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Ruby Marti is excited to serve the Wisconsin Rapids community in a brand-new role as Miss Wisconsin Rapids’ Outstanding Teen.

The eighth grader at the Wisconsin Rapids Area Middle School was crowned as the city’s first Outstanding Teen titleholder Nov. 5 at the Performing Arts Center. The new competition brought an opportunity for teenagers between 13 and 18 to earn scholarships and professional development skills and leads to a state competition to serve as Miss Wisconsin's Outstanding Teen.

Marti, the youngest of six candidates vying for the teen title, said she was a little nervous to compete, but as the candidates went through two months of workshops and rehearsals to prepare for the competition, she felt that she was able to grow and improve her skills.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are,” Marti said. “You’re able to do more than you think.”

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Ruby Marti learns she will be the first Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen Nov. 5 in Wisconsin Rapids.
Ruby Marti learns she will be the first Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen Nov. 5 in Wisconsin Rapids.

Marti said she is excited to serve in the community, especially talking to young children and parents about early language skills. During competition, Marti chose to focus on early language with a social impact initiative called “Silence is NOT Golden: Early Language Matters.”

Marti said her mother is a speech-language specialist, and she noticed not many people know much about the topic, especially when it comes to children. She said she wants people to know that they can communicate with small children, even when it feels like they’re not listening.

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Language is important in all ages, she said. Many people assume that children don’t understand what adults are saying, but there are several studies that show children learn a high percentage of words that come from their parents’ vocabulary. The more adults talk to children, the wider their vocabulary will be at a young age.

As for Marti, language arts has always been a favorite class, and she enjoys public speaking. It’s one of the reasons she chose to compete this year as Miss Wisconsin Rapids’ Outstanding Teen, as well as previous years with the Cranberry Blossom Festival Princess program. Marti said even though she knew she was skilled at public speaking, she hadn’t had many opportunities before the Outstanding Teen competition to use those skills. She learned she could speak in front of an audience better than she thought, and she could get her message across to groups of people, even as a young person.

Ruby Marti performs a hip-hop dance to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" at the Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen competition Nov. 5, 2022 in Wisconsin Rapids.
Ruby Marti performs a hip-hop dance to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" at the Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen competition Nov. 5, 2022 in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Miss Wisconsin Rapids’ Outstanding Teen competition was also a good way for Marti to build connections and friendships throughout the workshops and competition, and to serve in a leadership role while serving the community, she said. The scholarships provided also help her get a head start on paying for future schooling.

While college is still a few years away for Marti, she has already earned $1,200 in scholarships through the program, including $200 for an overall teen talent award for dancing a hip-hop dance to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and $1,000 from the Miss Wisconsin Rapids Scholarship Organization.

The day of competition for Marti was “hectic but so much fun.” She completed her interview portion of competition in the morning, then played in a basketball tournament before taking the stage in the evening for the remainder of the program.

Ruby Marti takes the stage during the fitness segment of the Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen competition Nov. 5 in Wisconsin Rapids.
Ruby Marti takes the stage during the fitness segment of the Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen competition Nov. 5 in Wisconsin Rapids.

Marti said she suggests teenagers consider competing in the program in the future, even if they’re not “girly-girls,” as the scholarships, interview skills and community involvement are worth it.

Hearing her name as the new Miss Wisconsin Rapids’ Outstanding Teen was shocking, and it took a bit for it to sink in, she said.

“Then you realize all the work you’ve done,” Marti said. “It’s an incredible feeling overall.”

This article originally appeared on Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune: Meet Miss Wisconsin Rapids' Outstanding Teen, Ruby Marti