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Katie Schmit enjoys her busy schedule, balancing pageant title and nursing school

Artesian native relishing last few months as Miss South Dakota Teen USA

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Sanborn Central native Katie Schmit has stayed busy as she balances nursing school responsibilities at South Dakota State University along with her Miss South Dakota Teen USA duties.
Contributed / Future Productions

ARTESIAN — Despite already always being busy, Sanborn Central graduate Katie Schmit couldn’t pass up taking on more when she was crowned as Miss South Dakota Teen USA in April of 2021.

In addition to her studies at South Dakota State University as a nursing student, Schmit juggled a lot to meet her responsibilities for both school, the pageant organization and in public appearances.

Whether it’s her clinicals for school, the South Dakota State Fair, Howard’s Fall Festival or reading to the elementary students at Sanborn Central — Schmit has enjoyed her hectic schedule.

“I had to be very well-organized and keep everything in line, knowing what I was doing and really just pushing myself ... And along with that I wanted to be involved in my friends' and families' lives,” Schmit said. “For me, I was having 14 (hour) credit classes during the week and then doing two to three interview calls a week — two to three FaceTime calls a week, plus just going and preparing myself for different things throughout the week, including appearances.”

In November, Schmit finally competed on the big stage as she traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for 10 days for the Miss Teen USA competition.

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Artesian native and Sanborn Central alum Katie Schmit competes in the Miss Teen USA competition in Tulsa back in November.
Contributed / Future Productions

Schmit said the two days of the competition consisted of a lot of interviews before going on stage for the active wear and evening gown competitions.

Since the competition took place on Nov. 26 and 27 in Oklahoma, Schmit missed Thanksgiving at home.

Instead, her family traveled to Tulsa. Her parents Bob and Brenda, along with her two older sisters and their husbands, along with her nieces and nephews, celebrated with her the day before the competition.

“The Miss Teen USA and Miss USA organization actually released us on that Thursday, to be able to have supper with our families,” Schmit said. “All their kiddos came and watched me, which is so cute because I have two twin nieces and they were wearing little tiaras, and it just made my day.”

While the competition was a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, Schmit said it’s the people she’s met along the way since having been crowned Miss Teen South Dakota USA that has made her time so enjoyable.

It didn’t matter if they were contestants either at the state or national level, just meeting people at public events or something as simple as a sad little girl at the airport. She said interactions with others made everything she felt more special.

“On Halloween Day, I was traveling back from Houston, Texas, I had gone there for a photo shoot actually. I noticed that this little girl had been left out from getting those little flying pins that pilots have — her two brothers had just gotten them. I saw that she was left out and you know, as a little kid, that makes you a little bit bummed.

“I walked over there and I said, I have something that might make your day a little bit better. And when I opened up my crown box to show her my crown, her eyes just brightened up. I let her put it on and it was just such a fulfilling moment knowing that like I got to bring happiness to that little girl's day. As we were waiting in line to board the plane, the mom had said that now she's going home to be a princess, which I thought was so sweet.”

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Sanborn Central native and Miss South Dakota Teen USA Katie Schmit, right, poses for a photo with a young girl at the airport she met and let try on her crown and sash.
Contributed / Future Productions

During her reign, Schmit started her “Katie’s Kards for Kids” fundraiser event that allowed her to present gift cards to children in the hospital.

“I was selling shirts. They represented South Dakota and all that South Dakota has from pheasants to Mount Rushmore to our 605,” she said. “I sold those and then all the proceeds from that went towards the gift cards.”

Last week, Schmit made a trip to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls to donate the first round of gift cards and this week made a trip to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls for her second donation.

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Katie Schmit donates her "Katie's Kards for Kids" to Avera McKennan last week in Sioux Falls.
Contributed / Katie Schmit

While Schmit’s reign as Miss South Dakota Teen USA will end on April 9, she plans on continuing her gift card fundraising campaign.

Since the competition officially ended in November, the Artesian native has kept up public appearances on top of her school work and nursing responsibilities.

“Honestly, I probably will just get busy with something else,” she said. “Even just after the national competitions, my life slowed down a little bit more. And I will say that it was nice to be able to have that little relaxation period and it'd be good to get back into my normal routine a little bit, but I definitely like to stay busy. So I'll probably find something else that keeps me busy, too.”

Schmit, who enrolled at SDSU with 29 dual-credits from high school, anticipates graduating in December, a semester early.

Schmit also said she hasn’t ruled out competing for the Miss South Dakota USA title down the road.

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