While the Special Olympics Wisconsin Board of Directors has included people with pretty interesting job titles over the years, board member Alyssa Bohm added perhaps the most interesting one yet to the mix on June 15, 2019.
That’s the date she beat out 23 other finalists from across the state to be crowned Miss Wisconsin during the 2019 Miss Wisconsin competition at Alberta Kimball Auditorium in Oshkosh.
Bohm, who has been on Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Board of Directors since September 2018, came out victorious on a social impact initiative that aims to improve the lives and opportunities for individuals with special needs.
“I’ll get to travel and educate people about how we can live inclusively and not look at each other differently, but instead look at the things we have in common.”
As the new Miss Wisconsin, Bohm will hit the road in the Miss Wisconsin Mobile crisscrossing the state to the tune of an estimated 30,000 miles over the next year to share insights from her many years of successfully promoting inclusion.
“I’ll get to travel and educate people about how we can live inclusively and not look at each other differently, but instead look at the things we have in common,” Bohm said.
Bohm’s passion for inclusion stems from her relationship with her Aunt Cindy, whose strength in the face of an intellectual disability and limited resources inspired Bohm to work toward inclusion and increasing opportunities for people with ID.
As a student at UW-Whitewater, Bohm helped found the Special Olympics College club on campus and eventually helped start the UW-Whitewater Special Olympics Football Camp, where Special Olympics athletes practice football drills alongside UW-Whitewater football players. Even after Bohm’s graduation from the university, the camp lives on as a budding UW-Whitewater tradition.
After college, Bohm began teaching special education at her former high school, J.I. Case High School in Racine. This year she helped the school become a Special Olympics Unified Champion School. “I truly believe in the power of Unified Sports,” Bohm said about what drove her to start the UW-Whitewater camp and the UCS program at Case.
“When they called my name, I literally had a moment where I thought I was dreaming.”
Now, after years of helping her local schools promote inclusion, she’ll be able to extend her reach to all of Wisconsin as she promotes Unified Sports and the Unified Champion Schools program.
Her many road trips across the state as Miss Wisconsin will be a fitting end to her many years of competition in the Miss Wisconsin pageant. “It has been a long road to becoming Miss Wisconsin,” Bohm said, noting that she’s previously held the titles of Miss Racine, Miss Harbor Cities, Miss Great Lakes, and most recently, Miss Rock River Valley.
But in the end, the hard work she put in and the long wait were worth it. “When they called my name, I literally had a moment where I thought I was dreaming,” Bohm said.
And while her year of traveling the state to promote inclusion will bring her Miss Wisconsin dreams to a close, it’s not necessarily the end of the story for Bohm.
As Miss Wisconsin, she’ll also be competing in the next Miss America pageant for the chance to take her social impact initiative of inclusion and opportunities for people with special needs nationwide.