Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Not your average Fairest of the Fair candidate
Babiak hopes to stand out in this year’s Fair

by Steve Targo

September 01, 2011

BLOOMFIELD — When 16-year-old Kaila Babiak was younger, she hijacked a church awards show. She said in the middle of a youth ministry program, she grabbed the microphone and belted out a rendition of "Jesus Loves Me."

"I'm the stage type," Babiak said when asked why she applied to become Walworth County's next Fairest of the Fair. When asked why she loves public speaking, she said, "I've just always loved talking."

Dramatic, motivated, loves public speaking — all par for the course when it comes to describing those who seek to become Fairest of the Fair. Although Babiak may share some similarities with her peers, she stands out. Yes, she has honor roll status and a small business, but this homeschooled piano teacher said she's throwing her hat in the ring to become Fairest because of a higher purpose.

"I really try to set a high standard for myself and really for the glory of God," Babiak said. "If I'm not doing things to the best of my ability, I'm not really glorifying God."

She promised if she becomes the next Fairest of the Fair, she won't hijack the ceremony.

A big family

Babiak comes from a Bloomfield Township family of 10 children — five girls, five boys. Three of her siblings were adopted from Liberia in 2006.

All the Babiak children are homeschooled by their parents, Robert and Hannah. Kaila said homeschooling may not be common, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I enjoy being homeschooled," Kaila said. "I'm glad my parents sacrificed their time."

Kaila said in addition to teaching the basic subjects, her parents allow her the flexibility to pursue her academic interests, not to mention the opportunity to work within a wide age group.

Being one of the oldest children in the family, Kaila said she "got used to being in charge." She said she learned how to work with children of all ages by working with her siblings. This also plays into establishing her piano teaching business five years ago.

"I started out teaching my sisters," she said.

From there, other family members asked her to teach their children and news of her skills spread by word of mouth. Now, Kaila has 18 students between the ages of 3 and 14.

"I'm planning on continuing to teach music," she said. "I love music."

She also is aware of the importance of politics. Kaila is involved in Generation Joshua, an online class which teaches and tests one's knowledge about U.S. politics and history.

"It is important being that we're the next generation," Kaila said. "We need to know these things so we can make wise decisions."

She said the intention behind it is to prompt young people's interest in politics. Although Generation Joshua has groups in which young people can help campaign for candidates in all levels of government, Kaila said it doesn't have a local one, but she wants to start one.

That's likely going to happen if she can find the time amid all her volunteering.

Kaila is involved in a choir consisting of other homeschooled children, which performs at area nursing homes and other areas.

For four years, she has been in area 4-H clubs and has helped people park vehicles on the Pregnancy Hotline parking lot during the fair. Since age 9, she has been in Bright Lights, a mother-daughter group which focuses on Biblical character building.

"My mom was looking for stuff we could do, to be involved with other people, (but) most of my volunteering is for my church," Kaila said.

She plays piano and sings at Geneva Lakes Christian Church, where she also helped plan an event called Ladies Day Out.

How does she find the time and strength to do all this?

"Through God's help," Kaila said. "My mom always tells me, 'Just do the next thing.' Sometimes it feels like you can't get it done. Then God helps me. I want to live to the best of my ability, because you never know when your time will come."

But will it be time for judges to appoint Kaila the next Fairest of the Fair? She said she knows whatever happens, it's going to be an unforgettable experience.

"I've had to do things I've never done before," she said.

Kaila said she has recorded radio commercials for the Walworth County Fair, taken part in interviews and had to "go into that business/professional realm," something she usually doesn't do.

Her favorite part so far has been when the three Fairest judges interviewed her — not because she's in love with talking about herself, but because she said she never had this kind of opportunity.

"This was the first time I ever had a major interview," Kaila said. "The judges were just so kind. When they asked me questions, it was neat. Some of them weren't familiar with homeschooling, so to share that with them, it was kind of neat. This whole thing gives me an opportunity to show my love of Christ and that is the most important thing."

But what if the crown is laid on someone else's head?

"I don't feel I would have lost anything because the opportunity to meet all these (candidates) and to work with the Fair Board, it's just such a neat opportunity and an experience I'm going to remember for the rest of my life," Kaila said.