More than just a pretty face

Published 10:44 am Friday, December 17, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - More than a month after the Miss Niles-Brandywine pageant, Niles High School senior Caity Hood is still shocked about being named first runner-up in the contest.
Hood, who had never entered a beauty pageant before entering Miss Niles-Brandywine in October, said she had gone to pageants when she was younger and developed a desire to compete in them.
Hood attended her first pageant at the age of nine when she went to see her older brother's girlfriend compete.
Hood is a true Miss Niles-Brandywine, having attended school in both districts. Her previous education in the Brandywine district was one of the influencing factors in Hood's decision to compete in this year's contest.
As part of her duties of being part of the 2005 Miss Niles-Brandywine court, Hood made appearances at public events such as the lighting of the Niles Amtrak Train Depot and the Holiday Homecoming lighting of the Niles City Holiday Tree.
Hood and Miss Niles-Brandywine winner Lacey Wiemuth, who also attends Niles High School, are using their position as members of the pageant court to bring holiday cheer to one needy Niles family.
The pair have adopted a family and plan to deliver the gifts to the family wearing their crowns and banners. Hood said she and Wiemuth plan to give the young girl in the family they adopted a tiara, making her a little queen for the holidays.
But Hood's spirit of charity is not just limited to her duties as a member of the Miss Niles Brandywine court, she extends herself through other avenues as well.
This year she took the initiative to lead Niles High School social studies teacher DeLane Overton's seventh hour sociology class in organizing their adopt-a-family food and gift drive.
Overton, who has known Hood in all her years at the high school, said he is impressed with Hood's attitude and drive.
Overton also said he respects Hood's independent thinking, saying she is never one to shy away from expressing her opinion.
sees the need, but she also has the maturity to do so in a respectful
manner," Overton said. "While some people in positions of authority dislike their authority being challenged, I believe it's a healthy exercise in a citizen's constitutional right to be heard."
But Hood isn't just a girl with a pretty face and a huge heart, she also has plans of attending Michigan State University to study to become an open heart surgeon.
As part of the Professional Health Careers Academy at Niles High School, Hood is currently going through three week rotations with various professional health organizations.
Hood's current rotation is in the office of SMCAS. In her current role, Hood primarily observes the paramedics in their daily duties. If they go out on a call, Hood even gets to ride along in the ambulance.
While Hood said she couldn't see herself making a career out of being a paramedic, she has entertained the thought of working as one while attending school.
When Hood completes her classes in the Professional Health Careers Academy, she'll have 13 and one half college credits from classes taken at Lake Michigan College through the program.
Hood has studied holistic health, anatomy, and first-aid among other class at Lake Michigan College.
Before she decided she wanted to be an open heart surgeon, Hood originally planned to attend Michigan State to study to be a veterinarian. Hood's previous rotation in a veterinarians office changed her mind.
During her rotation in the veterinarians office, Hood assisted with surgery and other duties, but ultimately decided being a veterinarian wasn't the profession for her to pursue.
Hood is a self-described animal lover. When she was young, she played with animals all the time, she said.
So what made Hood decide the veterinary field wasn't for her?
Hood likes to always be on the move and doesn't like to be inactive, she said.
One could assume that attitude is the reason Hood enjoys her part-time job as a waitress at the Riverfront Cafe. Hood said she enjoys working as a waitress because it offers her the chance to interact with a number of different people.
Hood said her job always keeps her on the feet and on the go, matching her personality perfectly.
In an effort to focus on her studies and her job, Hood recently quit cheerleading for the school, an activity she's been involved with since the seventh grade.
Although she's quite busy outside of school, Hood has maintained a 3.89 grade point average and said her favorite classes are math and sociology, but admits she isn't a fan of English classes.
In her free time, which she said is rare with all she does, Hood enjoys visiting her brother Casey, who attends classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo.
Hood said out of her seven siblings, some step-sibling and others natural, she is closest to 19-year-old Casey.
Although she rarely gets a chance to sit down and watch television, Hood said she most enjoys "Law and Order."
When asked if she had any hobbies she likes to take part in, Hood simply responded, "I don't really have time for a hobby."