West Virginia

The state of West Virginia has a very special place in my heart. Not only was I crowned there but I was also lucky enough to speak to three of the largest high schools in the state on civic engagement and registering to vote. This past week I met with West Virginia’s Secretary of State, Mac Warner, and his excellent staff to discuss his most significant initiative since he has been in office, which is young voter registration. Thanks to the Curator of Arts, Culture and History for the state of West Virginia, Randall Reid-Smith, those two days were all possible. It was so lovely getting to know him better and learn about the state of West Virginia’s rich history. 

Two of Secretary Warner's awesome team members.

Getting to go back to the place I received my crown was undoubtedly nostalgic and brought back a lot of fond memories. I even stayed in the same hotel that we stayed in for nationals. It made me miss all of the girls I was lucky enough to meet in those ballrooms. At 7 am we headed to our first stop at Cabell Midland High School, and I will have to admit, I was packed full of nerves- which I get from my father. Their band that performed for us is the top band in the state, and they were just amazing to hear. Once we got around to the second school, Hurricane High School, Secretary Warner gave me a little pep talk, and all my nerves went away. Hurricane High School had their award-winning show choir, The Red Hots, perform Rise by Katy Perry.

I have to say, Secretary Warner was one of the nicest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, along with his fantastic staff. He even got me in touch with my own Secretary of State, and may have gotten me an internship! We went to one last high school that day, George Washington Highs School, and fun fact; the famous actress Jennifer Garner is a graduate of GW High. GW High had their acapella group performed the National Anthem before we started the assembly. The main things we touched on at all three schools were the importance of being civically engaged and registering to vote when you are old enough. Quite a few kids took the time to register with us once our assembly was over. I also got to tour the governor's mansion before I prepared to head to the airport. 

To my left is Secretary Warner and on the far right is Randall Reid-Smith.

West Virginia is a fantastic state, full of so much culture and history to the point you never know what you will find out next. If you look at West Virginia’s state seal, you will see at the bottom, “Montani Semper Liberi, “ which is Latin for, “Mountaineers are Always Free.” That Latin phrase was my favorite tidbit of information I learned. Besides learning that Alabama’s head football coach is from West Virginia and hearing, “How are yall down in Alabama likin our football coach?” Yes, Nick Saban is the best, and we will not give him back-Roll Tide. The reason “Mountaineers are Always Free” resonated with me so much is because it made me happy that their state motto is all about freedom in nature. No matter what they are put through, they always have the beautiful mountains that hold their history and cover their beautiful state.

Stay Fiery, Bold and Beautiful

Miss Teen International 2018

Georgia Clark


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