Miss Alabama comes to show and tell
William Blanchard of Destin Elementary School became an instant class hero by a streak of show-in-tell greatness last Thursday.
Blanchard brought his sister, Jesica Ahlberg, the newly crowned, Miss Alabama U.S.A to Mrs. Melissa Zurick's first grade class, for a reading session.
"My brother and his friends were really excited about me winning," said Ahlberg, "I thought this would be a really great opportunity."
Alberg, who lived in Destin during high school before moving to Alabama for college in 2012, shared that this has been an amazing homecoming.
"I think it is really cool because Destin is where I actually got into pageants," she said. "I'm really excited to come back and see my sponsors and the people who supported me, and to bring the keys of accomplishment with me."
Partnering with Alabama based non-profit, Better Basics, Ahlberg explained that she has chosen a platform that focuses on literacy, and improving reading skills in children in the public school system.
Ahlberg explained that in working with Better Basics she learned that illiteracy and poverty go hand-in-hand, and she wants to be part of a movement for change.
"I really think that by reading to these kids, through this program, we can create interest to learn, grow, and dream," Ahlberg said.
Her book of choice was Marcus Pfister's beautifully illustrated children's book, "The Rainbow Fish."
"That's my all time favorite children's book," Ahlberg said.
The book carries a message of making friends by sharing, and Ahlberg demonstrated that by allowing the children to try on her Miss Alabama crown. Both the girls and the boys took turns with the crown, waving and bowing as if they had won it themselves.
"It looks like a king or queen's crown," said Blanchard pointing and giggling with his classmates.
After prompting from the kids, Ahlberg wrapped up the reading session by placing the crown on Mrs. Zurick's head.
She hopes that Better Basics will soon expand from Alabama to other states, and advocates for reading programs in every school.
"It really could make a difference in our community," she said.
Ahlberg will soon head to Baton Rouge, La, as Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, just announced that this year's competition will be held there, on June 8.