During her visit to Serenity Baptist Church on Wednesday, Laura Matrazzo enjoyed answering questions from eager children raising their hands.
Wearing a tiara and sash, Matrazzo smiled and answered questions about her favorite cartoon, Disney movie, food and even the state she loves the most — North Carolina. Matrazzo was recently crowned Miss North Carolina 2018 and spent time sharing her story while providing motivation to children in the Happy Ours program.
“I think it’s so important that kids in our community have role models,” Matrazzo said. “I was very lucky to grow up around a lot of very incredible individuals.”
The Cardinal Gibbons High School of Raleigh graduate and Clemson University alumna’s platform was “Money Talks: Students-Focused Principals of Financial Management.” The program for middle school students teaches participants about money management and household budgeting. Matrazzo also performed a tap dance to “Ready for a Miracle” by Patti LaBelle. The dancer studied with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center and the J. Sherman Theatre of Symphony Hall. She also studied and performed under the direction of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
Through her Social Impact Initiative, she has earned honors such as the Wells Fargo Community Impact Award and the Award for Outstanding Community Service in N.C., which was given by the Scholarship One Foundation of the Miss America Organization. In the future, she would like to pursue a master’s degree for a career in sports or corporate marketing.
Matrazzo expressed the importance of meeting with youths and telling them to “dream big” and pursue their goals. While speaking to the crowd, Matrazzo said it’s also important to uplift others during competitions. She plans to bring Miss Cabarrus County Kylee Russell to the Miss America “Show Us Your Shoes” Parade. Russell was in the top 10 during the North Carolina pageant.
“To know that they shared the dream, is something that keeps me going,” Matrazzo said. “So I want to make sure everywhere that I go, I remind these kids that they’re going to being playing on teams. They may not always be the star, but even if the the star can look back and recognize them, that it’s really important.
Shea Autry, director of the Happy Ours program, shared her excitement about Matrazzo’s visit.
“We’re happy and we’re ready to cheer her on to Miss America,” Autry said.
Her daughter Randie Autry felt the same way. She was recently crowned Miss Lakewood High School and was involved with pageants and looks up to Matrazzo and previous Miss North Carolina title holders.
“I feel that it really has an impact on these kids’ lives whenever they get to see her,” Randie said.
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