Miss America has a lesson for NCS students (VIDEO)

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Miss America Nina Davuluri answers questions in Brian Levi’s fourth-grade class before collecting letters for the troops and posing for pictures Monday at Northfield Community School. Miss America Nina Davuluri answers questions in Brian Levi’s fourth-grade class before collecting letters for the troops and posing for pictures Monday at Northfield Community School.  NORTHFIELD – Miss America Nina Davuluri went back to school Monday, Feb. 10, visiting the Northfield Community School and bringing a powerful message.

Her first stop was the fourth grade, where she collected cards for the troops made by students and answered questions in each of the five classes she visited.

The Syracuse native and University of Michigan graduate talked about her degree in brain behavior and cognitive studies. She said her plans are to attend medical school after her year as Miss America is complete.

She told the students that she had role models and mentors that helped her focus on her studies and fostered her passion for science.

She told the students that she travels about 20,000 miles every month fulfilling the duties of her crown – working with the Children’s Miracle Network, speaking to schoolchildren around the country and other engagements.

She said she is a big Syracuse basketball fan and prefers the color pink, and fessed up to loving chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

The students had plenty of questions. They found out what it was like to compete in the pageant and win her title. Davuluri told them that getting to where she is now was not an easy journey.

She said she faced a lot of misunderstanding about her Indian heritage.

“Every contestant in the Miss America competition has to adopt a platform, and mine is overcoming stereotypes and breaking barriers through cultural competency,” Davuluri said. “I was told I don’t look like the girl next door – but the demographics of our country are changing, and the girl next door could look just like me.”

Panchatapa Baul asked Davuluri how she felt when people said so many hurtful things on Twitter and other social media.
“I think people will say mean things because they just do not understand a different culture, and if we educate people about different cultures it will cause people to stop and think before they say something hurtful.”

When people learn of her heritage, they ask if she will have an arranged marriage, what the dot on the forehead means, and what tribe she belongs to.

“I was born in this country and I am an American, but I am very proud of my heritage as well. It just takes sometimes educating people to a new culture so they understand,” said Davuluri.

She said that for every negative comment that was made, there were many more that were supportive. A video created by a fan called “I Stand with Nina” that was posted after the pageant was something that touched her, she said.

She told students to be mindful of what they say to others and to choose their words wisely.

“I know it is easier said than done, but be yourself, and with social media, know that what you tweet or put on Facebook can’t be taken back. So be careful of the words you use.”


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Sixth-grader Panchatapa Baul asks Miss America how the hurtful comments posted online after she was crowned made her feel. Sixth-grader Panchatapa Baul asks Miss America how the hurtful comments posted online after she was crowned made her feel. Miss America Nina Davuluri joins Northfield Community Middle School teacher of the year Kristen Polak at the assembly Monday, Feb. 10 in the NCS gymnasium.  Miss America Nina Davuluri joins Northfield Community Middle School teacher of the year Kristen Polak at the assembly Monday, Feb. 10 in the NCS gymnasium. Elementary School Principal Maureen Vaccarro snaps a memory of Miss America’s visit to Barbara Shenkus’ fourth-grade class. Elementary School Principal Maureen Vaccarro snaps a memory of Miss America’s visit to Barbara Shenkus’ fourth-grade class. Miss America Nina Davuluri visits Jill Thomas’ fourth-grade class at the Northfield Community School Monday, Feb. 10. Miss America Nina Davuluri visits Jill Thomas’ fourth-grade class at the Northfield Community School Monday, Feb. 10.


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