Tea for Two, plus Ms. NC
By Miles Layton
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins paid Chowan County a visit last week to have tea with students at White Oak Elementary.
Truly, the beauty queen's uplifting presence comes complete with a Disney song is a joy to behold as she smiles, interacts with the students during the Tea for Two, a mother-daughter event.
“The special part, for me, of the event was being told by Principal Sheila when I arrived that the students had no idea I was coming,” she said. “So the faculty kept me hidden in the front office until all of the girls were in the auditorium and cafeteria. The look of surprise on their faces when I walked through the door was simply priceless.”
Truly, this people's princess deserves another term as Miss NC after she led the whole crowd of mothers and daughters in a song from the “Frozen” soundtrack that every little girl remembers.
“Let it go, let it go, can't hold it back anymore,” sang the one-time American Idol contestant. “Let it go. Let it go. Turn away and slam the door. I don't care what they're going to say. Let it go. Let it go. The cold never bothered me anyway.”
This is Huggins' second visit to the school. In March, Huggins read Dr. Seuss' classic “Green Eggs and Ham” to promote reading to kindergarten kids. Thanks to a grant from the Citgo corporation, each kindergartner was given a book.
“It is always such an honor when you are invited back somewhere after being there before,” she said. “I loved visiting White Oak Elementary for Read Across America in March, so I was thrilled they booked me to come back for the Tea! Chowan County now has a permanent place in my heart.”
Huggins' visit was part of her journey to be the first Miss NC to appear in every county within the Tarheel state before her reign comes to an end.
“It’s definitely bittersweet when I think about June 23rd,” she said. “On one hand, I am excited to see another woman’s dream come true like mine did. But on the other, I am going to miss being an ambassador of our state in this job capacity. The great thing is, I’m forever a Miss North Carolina and I’ll never stop serving.”
Worth noting, Huggins' was in the parade for the Azalea Festival in April where she met local celebrity, Adrian Wood, a columnist. One of the premier social events of the old North State, the festival draws thousands to Wilmington.
“I think she is genuine and personable and a young woman who had lots to offer,” Wood said. “I think she has taught me that there is way more to a beauty queen than sitting pretty. She competed 5 times and has been accepted to the masters program of JOHN Hopkins. She is an only child and her mother travels with her most everywhere. She is kind and honest and I really admire her.”
Wood would see Huggins again at White Oak – a role model to would-be princesses.
“I think we can raise strong girls and shouldn’t shun beauty queens just because they seem the alter ego of feminists,” Wood said. “Victoria has proven that hypothesis incorrect. I am awfully proud to be part of a school system that values more than reading and writing and math.”
Longtime educator and Principal Sheila Evans gave Huggins high marks for her visit. Evans said had an anonymous donor provide funds for Huggins visit. Much like the Boys to Men breakfast, the girls were treated to an etiquette lesson by Sydney Dunn of the Lost Colony Cotillion, an inspirational message from Victoria Huggins, and cookies and juice. Each left the event having talked about their future dreams and, with the help of their female adult companion, writing those down so that they could be posted on our wall.
“We were delighted to have Miss NC Victoria Huggins visit White Oak again,” she said. “A CITGO grant allowed her to visit schools in northeastern NC earlier this year including WOS. During that time, she met with our Kindergarteners. We were so impressed with her message that we wanted to ask her back to talk to all of our girls and their moms, grandmoms, aunts, and community volunteers at Tea for Two.”
Huggins grew up in the two-stoplight town of St. Pauls in Robeson County. She said her small town upbringing made all the difference in her way of thinking, of being and succeeding.
“My parents and hometown taught me that if you want to succeed, then you’re going to have to work hard. So in everything I’ve done, from being an original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese “Blue Box Kid” to Miss North Carolina, that foundation of a strong work ethic has been what has help me succeed,” she said.
Huggins is role model to many little girls across the old North State who may forever remember her as the queen who sang, told jokes and made us all proud.
“I loved seeing the little girls hold their female role model’s hand,” she said. “Whether it was their mom, grandma, whomever it was they chose to be with them; all of them had a “moment” during the tea that touched my heart. And it’s those moments that we remember forever.”