By Ella Shockley
The journey of life swoops people of all walks of life in different, unique directions, bringing them on a journey that is one of a kind. Haley Berger, a previous student at Randall Middle School and Newsome High School, took the term ‘walk of life’ literally, as she has been crowned Miss Kansas USA of 2023. Even during hours of perfecting her pageant walk, interview skills and smile, Berger still maintained her pursuit toward a Doctor of Pharmacy degree alongside her Master of Business Administration.
Berger is originally from Bangkok, Thailand, having moved to Lithia in 2012. She attended Randall Middle School and Newsome High School, then left for Wichita, Kansas in 2017 right before her junior year. She was an active member of Newsome’s marching band under the direction of Michael Miller. She competed in state competitions, regionals for Bands of America in Newark, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the WGI World Championships in Daytona.
About her path to Miss Kansas USA, Berger explained, “My journey was inspired by a multitude of things. In December of 2022, I faced what I like to call my quarter life crisis. The path I was on in my education had an unexpected twist that caused a spiral in self-doubt.”
Berger also stated that she continued to pursue her Doctor of Pharmacy but had to take an additional year to work on her Master of Business Administration. This gave her the confidence to apply for Miss Kansas USA.
Berger said as well that her mother, a former beauty queen, was an additional key inspiration. From practicing interview questions to filling out forms, her mother was right alongside her through every step.
Miss Kansas USA of 2023 was Berger’s first pageant. The most valuable opportunity for Berger was the chance to voice everything she is passionate about.
Berger stated this opportunity was “a chance for women to stand up and speak on things that have been silenced or brushed aside. It is an opportunity for you to find the strength in prioritizing your physical and mental health.”
Berger is on her way to Miss USA later this year, and she plans to go in with the same mindset: to have fun, make a friend and be a sponge.