Imari Scarbrough Staff Writer
December 18, 2013
The HOLLA! Center in Morven welcomed special guest Amanda McCoy on Wednesday. McCoy is the 2013 Miss Black USA.
McCoy’s first event was a breakfast reception at the HOLLA! Center. Guests enjoyed a large breakfast as several speakers presented. Betty Jean Pratt sang “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” often called “The Black National Anthem,” before Morven Councilman Theodore Carr spoke.
Carr welcomed McCoy and recognized her for her efforts to help young girls achieve in life. “You touch every base,” he said. “I hope that this message will surface in the minds of young ladies and that they will act upon them… I don’t have a granddaughter. I have several grandsons, but no granddaughter. But I’ll sit them down and give them your story so they can see how you made it to the top… This isn’t a case of being in the right place at the right time. This is hard work and dedication.”
He presented the key to the city to McCoy. “‘We don’t give these to people we don’t expect to come back,” he said. “We want you to return.”
McCoy then spoke to the audience about her platform, P.E.A.R.L.S. for Girls (Passion, Energy, Awareness, Relationships, Literacy and Social Skills) and thanked the HOLLA! Center for its work with youth. “It’s important to be proactive with our children rather than reactive,” she said. “I believe that every child has the opportunity to be a beautiful pearl.”
Every child needs passion and energy to succeed, she said. Children also need awareness of who is there to help them and what resources they have, as well as good relationships. “You never know your true purpose until it’s fulfilled, so keep healthy relationships,” she said. Additionally, she said children need literacy and social skills to succeed.
Together, these traits form children that are P.E.A.R.L.S., she said. “I picked P.E.A.R.L.S. because everybody starts off as a grain of sand,” McCoy explained. “These grains of sand get trapped in an oyster — or in a community that wants nothing but good for them. It may get shaken and agitated, and it may not like it, but when it emerges it will be a beautiful girl.”
McCoy didn’t just visit Morven. After the breakfast, McCoy held assemblies at the Anson County Early College, Wadesboro Elementary and Morven Elementary, a veteran visit at Calvin Pratt’s house, had lunch with the junior book club at Anson High School, visited the Toys for Tots Wadesboro location on Wortham Street, and went back to the HOLLA! Center for a reception.
HOLLA! founder Leon Gatewood was excited about McCoy’s tour in the county. “We’re going to show our children one of the most beautiful pearls out there today, so that they can look up and go, ‘Wow!’” he said.
McCoy is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a double minor in women’s studies and journalism. She is also involved in the Kappa Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. As this year’s Miss Black USA, she wil travel the country as an ambassador and promote causes including the Heart Truth Campaign and serve as a spokesperson for the National Missing and Exploited Children’s Center. For more information, visit www.MissBlackUSA.org or call 919-261-9768.