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Miss North Carolina visits North Rowan Middle School

Last week, North Rowan Middle School students welcomed a special guest speaker – Miss North Carolina, Beth Stovall.

“I want students to see that I am not just a ‘pretty pageant girl,’ but that I am a real person and have been through the same things they are going through,” Stovall said.

A 21-year old Goldsboro native, Stovall spoke to small groups about life choices, bullying, and her experience with the crown. Being a victim of bullying throughout her middle and high school careers, Stovall said she is bullied now as Miss North Carolina more than ever.

Aside from sharing her personal experiences with bullying, Stovall told the story of Nina Davuluri, a former Miss America, being bullied in elementary school. Her bully is now a famous football player, and they ran into each other at an event. “What you say to your peers today sticks with them for the rest of their lives,” she said.

“People are going to think what they want about you, and you can’t change that,” she said. “You have to surround yourself with family and friends and get help learning how to deal with negative behavior.”

Stovall also focused heavily on perseverance, instructing students to “keep going” if they fall short of their goals. Having competed in 12 pageants in her lifetime, Stovall lost eight of them.

“She taught us to never give up,” sixth-grader Cora Stubbins said.

After speaking to the students, Stovall performed “Je Veux Vivre” from Gounod’s opera “Romeo and Juliet,” the talent that earned her the crown and a talent award at the Miss North Carolina pageant. Stovall is a senior vocal performance major at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Stovall said that her dream of becoming a singer on a big stage has never changed. She can sing in four languages, including German, Italian and French.

“She was so nice. She is now one of my inspirations. She knew exactly how we felt,” sixth-grade student Alexia Williams said.

Stovall’s visit was made possible by Communities in Schools, a United Way agency. This is the second year that Miss North Carolina has visited North Rowan.

“We thought that having her here gives the students a positive mindset,” Communities in Schools coordinator Emily Harrison said. “Students get excited about speakers.”

“Visiting schools is my favorite part of being Miss North Carolina,” Stovall said. “The crown gives me a chance to promote myself and my platform.”

Her platform is “Art & Soul,” a program she created to help continue arts education in schools.

Stovall will pass on the crown this June. After the pageant, she plans on spending several weeks assisting the new Miss North Carolina with social media, dietary planning, and moral support.

“This year has allowed me to do things that I could never have done otherwise,” Stovall said. “It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

 

Megan Braun is a North Rowan High School senior and Salisbury Post intern.

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