What made you choose ECU?
When I visited, I really fell in love with the School of Music here. I like the nurturing environment, and you see this all over ECU’s campus. The faculty is also fantastic! I love the fact that everyone within the ECU School of Music is truly dedicated to making each student the best musician they can become.
What makes you proud to be a Pirate?
The university’s motto is Servire or To Serve, and there is a clear commitment to that motto displayed by every organization on campus. It's great to be part of a university that believes in giving back!
In June, you were crowned the 75th Miss North Carolina. What has that experience been like thus far?
It’s so exciting and a lot of fun! During my year as Miss North Carolina, I am taking time off from school and traveling all over North Carolina, which is awesome. I have been getting to know different people throughout our state, and it’s very cool because I have met a lot of Pirates across North Carolina, as well. I am also preparing for the Miss America Pageant in January.
What has been your favorite place in North Carolina that you have visited in your travels?
I went to Ahoskie not too long ago, and I have never been before. My mom went with me, and we stayed in the home of the third Miss North Carolina. The grandchildren of the people who owned the house came all of the way from West Virginia to meet me, so I was very honored. Then we went to the Heritage Festival, and everyone was so nice and friendly! Before visiting, I didn’t know much about Ahoskie, but now I really like it!
When you were named Miss North Carolina, what was going through your head?
I was stunned. I had competed in the Outstanding Teen System, which is like a little sister to the Miss America Program, for a couple of years and came back as a miss for the first time. I was just hoping to get some experience and to see what it was all about. So, when I was in the top five, I thought, “All right. I have done way better than I thought I was going to do!” I was just completely stunned, thrilled, and amazed. There were so many things going through my head. It was crazy.
Every contestant within the Miss America System has a personal platform. What is your platform?
My platform is “The Domino Effect,” which aims to inspire volunteerism one person at a time. I have visited a lot of schools and spoken to a lot of different age groups about volunteering and getting involved and how everybody can find their niche in the community and give back. There is no one-size-fits-all way to volunteer. Everybody can use their own talents to volunteer and to hopefully inspire someone else to do the same thing.
What has been your favorite volunteer experience?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I think it is a tie. Before I came to ECU, I started a scholarship fund called the Henry Sanchez Memorial Scholarship Fund, which sends kids in my hometown to theatre camp for the summer. The teen group would get together and sell concessions at the intermission of every show, which was a blast. It was a lot of fun to see those kids over the summer while we were rehearsing a show. They were in theatre camp and getting their feet wet in the arts world and that was really exciting!
When I came to ECU, I became involved with the Special Populations Prom for individuals with disabilities, and I consider the first one I ever attended my best ECU memory. It takes a lot of hard work to make this event happen, but seeing the smiles on the attendees’ faces when the big night finally arrives is absolutely life changing! It is so fun and amazing to come together with Pirates from different majors and different backgrounds to create this event.
Upon graduating, what will you miss most about ECU?
The sense of camaraderie on campus is pretty incredible. There is a tangible feeling of Pirate pride everywhere you go. I think that is something that you take with you upon graduation; however, there is nothing more exciting than connecting with fellow Pirates when you're far from ECU.
You are competing in the Miss America Pageant. Tell us how you feel about that.
I am really excited! The Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women in the world, and I'm excited to say that it has helped to make my education possible. Every year I look forward to Miss America more than I look forward to the Super Bowl, so I feel like I am going to my Super Bowl! It’s pretty unbelievable. I hope everyone will tune in to the Miss America Pageant on ABC January 12. I will do my best to make the Pirate Nation proud!
Is there anything else you think people should know about you?
I have been really well supported by so many people here at ECU. It’s amazing the encouraging messages I have gotten from my friends, teachers, and various different people from this area. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been so supportive. I really appreciate it!