Miss Tennessee visits local schools to promote literacy and ‘grit’

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Miss Tennessee Grace Burgess visited several local schools this week encouraging students to practice reading and to have “grit” when it comes to pursuing their dreams.

Burgess, who will pass along her crown to her successor next month, spent two days visiting with students in Carter County discussing the importance of literacy, which has been her platform issue during her reign as Miss Tennessee.

“It’s my job as Miss Tennessee to travel all across the state and speak to the smartest and most special kids in the state,” Burgess told the students at Happy Valley Elementary on Tuesday morning. “I heard you guys were super duper cool.”

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While at the school Burgess was joined by Miss Watauga Valley Peyton Wilson to help the school celebrate the Accelerated Reader Awards for students who had earned the most points in their reading program. Burgess and Wilson assisted the school in handing out the awards to students.

Burgess also took a few moments to read one of her favorite books by Dr. Seuss called ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut’ to the students and lead them in singing Rocky Top.

While at the school, Burgess also took a moment to talk to the kids about what perseverance means.

“I like to call it ‘grit,’” she said. “It means never give up.”

To help them remember what grit means, Burgess enlisted the help of some of the students to help their classmates remember what the acronym G.R.I.T. stands for.

G is for ‘Give it your all,’ Burgess explained. R reminds you to ‘Reach high.’ The ‘I’ is important because it helps you to remember to ‘Ignore negatives’ when someone tries to tell you that you can’t do something. And T is to help you remember to ‘Try and try again.’

“I think we should keep reaching high for our dreams,” Burgess said. “I believe in every single one of you.”

In addition to assisting with the Accelerated Reader Awards, both Burgess and Wilson also visited with students in the CDC program.

Happy Valley Elementary was just one of several local schools Burgess and Wilson visited. The pair also made stops at Valley Forge Elementary, Hunter Elementary, East Side Elementary, and West Side Elementary.