Star-struck kids enjoy time with pageant hero
Published 8:45 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015
It wasn’t just the sparkles lighting up children’s faces during Storytime at the Elizabethton/Carter County Library this week.
When the children caught their first glimpse of the Hero Program’s guest speaker, Miss United States Pre-Teen South Atlantic Cagney Bennett, they couldn’t stop gushing over her.
Bennett, who attends T.A. Dugger Jr. High, wanted to read to the children about her hero — Queen Elizabeth II.
“Here’s a picture of Princess Elizabeth when she was a baby,” Bennett said. Most of the children were as in awe of the photo as they were Bennett.
Many of the children wanted to touch Bennett’s crown and were curious about how she got it.
“I competed for Little Miss Tennessee,” she said. “I won and then went to Washington D.C. to compete for Little Miss United States. I got fourth place, third runner-up.”
After the competition, Bennett was awarded her current title. Through her title and crown, Bennett has big plans to support her local library.
“One of the things that I like to do is read to kids,” she said. “I want to make sure they don’t get summer slide. That’s when kids fall behind in school over the summer.”
Bennett was comfortable in front of the children because she organizes her own program focusing on child literacy.
Since the beginning of the summer, Bennett has been visiting pre-schools in Elizabethton and Carter County to read to children. She distributes books as well as library cards to those children. Bennett’s goal is to bring more children into the library. If that’s not an option, she organizes book drives and fundraisers to ensure she can keep a large supply of books around.
“The lack of reading over summer months can actually put them behind three months in reading achievement,” Bennett said. “I just love giving books to kids.”
Bennett found out that all her hard work earned her yet another title. She found out that she has officially been named an ambassador for the library on Tuesday.
While she has maintained focus in her local community, Bennett also reaches out to other counties with her new title.
“I hope to go to even more pre-schools more often,” Bennett said.
To wrap up the event, Children’s Librarian Ashlee Williams set up a craft project at the end of the program. The children were able to make their own crowns to take home.