Envision Community Outreach Manager Places in Top 11 at Miss America

Envision Community Outreach Manager Places in Top 11 at Miss America

By Beth Walker • Jan 24, 2024
Courtney in three different outfits at Miss America.

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Courtney Wages, Miss Kansas, is dedicated to advocating for people who are blind or visually impaired (BVI) of all ages. Her service initiative, "One Vision is Not the Only Vision," passionately champions the independence and well-being of individuals who are BVI. What sets Courtney apart is her unique blend of grace and grit, being the first Miss America contestant to wholeheartedly commit herself to this cause while simultaneously excelling in her full-time role that shares the same mission, as Community Outreach Manager for Envision. During her first six months as Miss Kansas, she visited 77 out of 105 Kansas counties and plans to visit every single county before her reign ends. Her journey is supported by a strategic partnership between the Miss Kansas Organization and Envision, whose mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration and opportunity for people who are BVI through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research. 

Courtney attended the 2024 Miss America competition, hosted at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in January as Miss Kansas. With 10 days of preliminary competition, which involved a talent portion, fitness and modeling routine, individual and panel interviews, and a multitude of events with different partners of the Miss America Organization, she had the experience of a lifetime competing and showing her service initiative on a national stage. Courtney was announced as the winner of People’s Choice, advancing her to the Semi-finals at Miss America, where she was placed in the top 11. During the day of the final competition, Courtney and the other semi-finalists performed their talent portions and fitness and modeling routines again for not only the judges but the audience at large, along with competing in a panel interview where each contestant was asked a question at random to which they had to answer with a tie into their service initiative.  

For her talent portion, Courtney performed a tap dance, which is part of her background and expertise as a gifted and accomplished choreographer, dance teacher and Fine Arts college major. “Many people don’t realize it, but tap is the one type of dance method that people who are BVI can hear,” said Wages. “This is why getting to perform my tap routine was so important to me, because even my dance passion is inclusive for people who are BVI.”  

Though she did not win the title of Miss America, Courtney still placed in the top 11, which is quite an impressive feat. Along with placing in the top 11, she also was one of three women who was given the “Woman Who Launches” Award, meaning that she will be able to implement a service project nationwide as Miss Kansas that the Miss America Organization will help fund. Courtney’s project will launch in March of this year and will relate to her service initiative.  

“Placing in the Top 11 for Miss America is an incredible achievement that I am proud of. It is a testament to the countless hours of hard work, determination, and the unwavering support from my community that has brought me to this point,” said Wages. “I am truly grateful for everyone who believed in me and stood by my side throughout this journey. Your encouragement and belief in my abilities have been instrumental in my success. As I reflect on this experience, I am filled with excitement to return to Kansas, my beloved home, and continue serving the people who mean the most to me. Kansas, your love and support have been my driving force, and I am eager to continue making a positive impact in our state.” 

Courtney continues to be a true inspiration, unwavering in her commitment to empowering individuals with visual impairments. Her dedication shines brightly and Envision will continue to support her in all that she will do as Miss Kansas through June of 2024. She has brought so much awareness and value on a national platform to ensure that people who are blind or visually impaired have access to support and services they need to thrive. Envision and all its employees, community members and program participants are very proud of Courtney and all that she has done for the blind and visually impaired community.