Huron teen ready for state competition

By Curt Nettinga of the Plainsman
Posted 5/29/24

Modesty Heath to compete for Miss South Dakota Outstanding Teen

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Huron teen ready for state competition


HURON — This weekend in Brookings, while many eyes will be on the Miss South Dakota competition, a dozen teenage young women will take their first step onto the statewide stage, during the Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen competition, set for May 30 and 31.

One of those young women, likely the one with the biggest smile on her face, will be Modesty Heath, the 17-year-old daughter of Melissa and James Heath of Huron. Heath won the local title of Miss State Fair last September in her second competition and is looking forward to this weekend in Brookings.

“Oh I really am,” she said earlier this week via telephone as she prepared everything she will need. “I am most looking forward to getting back together with my sister delegates. I love all of them and I love meeting new people. I’ve said it a million times, but I am excited at the prospect of meeting new people and learning new things”

Heath entered her first local competition last July on the advice of a cousin.

“My cousin Karen works here at Black Tie,” she said. “She and the business are very involved with the Miss South Dakota and Miss America Organizations. Anyway, she sent me a text about this competition and said ‘I think you would do really well and I think you should try it.’ So I did.”

Her first taste was at the Miss Siouxland, one of the largest local competitions in the state. She didn’t win, but came away ready to try again.

“Miss Siouxland was a huge learning experience for me,” she said. “I had no idea what to expect and it threw me off a bit. But I’m glad I tried and loved the chance to learn and improve.”

In September, she was on the stage at the state fair and earned the Miss State Fair’s Outstanding Teen title.

“I took what I learned at Miss Siouxland and applied it to Miss State Fair…be confident, do what you want to do and do it to the fullest extent. And don’t let anyone tell you what you think you should do, or what you should look like. Do what feels right to you.”

Heath has chosen the topic “Harvesting Knowledge: Agriculture Literacy” as her Community Service Initiative for Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen competition, a subject toward which she has dedicated herself to learning.

“I don’t come from a typical ag background, although it is the biggest industry in the state,” she said, “and it was difficult for me to get involved.”

She said at the start, she though farming meant cows, plows and corn.

“I got involved with the FFA chapter (Heath attends Wolsey-Wessington High School, where she is a rising senior and is the FFA president) and it ignited a passion in me.

“I have learned that agriculture touches every part of our lives every day. It’s what we eat, it’s the gas in our cars and I want to do my part to get that message out to others, who may have the same misconceptions that I had.”

Her goal for the weekend is simple – be herself.

“These competitions are a challenge to me to be the best I can be. How can I stay true to myself and make myself proud?”

She will offer a “gospelly-like” song for her talent and after that, she plans to let her light shine.

“I love people and I want them to know that the real me is this bubbly, outgoing, compassionate person. I can’t worry about how I will be judged, but I can control how I treat other people!”