Education

Published on August 7th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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District Five Q & A with Chapin High School’s K. Lee Graham, Miss Teen USA

Pictured above: Chapin High School Principal Dr. Akil Ross and K. Lee Graham during the 2013-2014 school year.

IRMO – A Lexington-Richland School District Five student has been crowned the new Miss Teen USA.

K. Lee Graham won the title during a national competition on August 2. The 17-year-old Chapin High School student impressed the judges with her grace, pose and intellect – skills Graham said she honed as a student in District Five.

Chapin Principal Dr. Akil Ross said, “The Chapin community is very proud of K. Lee Graham. She is a great representative for South Carolina and now the USA. We wish her well and continued success. K. Lee is well deserving of this honor and will inspire so many to embrace their inner beauty.”

An honor student, Graham says she hopes to use her new title to further promote her “Live Beautifully” campaign, emphasizing character over physical beauty. District officials interviewed Graham after she won the national title to find out what the competition was like and what message she’d like to share with students and the community.

Q: What was it like competing at the national pageant?

A: It didn’t feel like a competition. All of the girls were so nice, and we all felt like sisters at the end. So, I didn’t feel like I was competing against anyone. It was also very exciting. I had a big rush of adrenaline being on stage because you know you’ll never have that chance again. It’s really special.

Q: The interview question asked how you think teens will be remembered 100 years from now, and  you replied that you hope they will be remembered as “agents of change.” That was very powerful.  Can you elaborate on that?  

A: I think that society is changing, and I think my generation especially is helping it evolve. We’ve seen tons of technological advancement. We’ve seen teens being innovative and using these advances to create a voice and create this whole new wave of media. We’ve also seen a lot more social consciousness in teenagers. We’re becoming more global, and I just think society is changing and teens are a part of it.

Q: What was the first thing you did after leaving the competition? In other words, how did you celebrate your accomplishment?

A: I got some time to spend with my family. I hadn’t seen them since Sunday before the competition. We had room service. I had a piece of chocolate cake and pizza, just treating myself this one time. My family has been really supportive, so that’s how I celebrate – with my family.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Well, I have another week in New York City. Then, I’ll come back home and figure out school. I definitely want to get all of that squared away. I’m hoping to graduate early and pursue some education and acting. New York Film Academy has given me a scholarship, so I hope to go there my second semester and pursue some colleges the following fall.

Q: You’ve accomplished so much, and everyone in the community is so proud of you. What would you say to students and people in the community who have seen what you’ve accomplished and supported you through this process?

A: I am extremely grateful for everyone’s support. I want students to know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and if you really do work hard. If you become the best version of yourself, then you never will go wrong. So, I want to encourage the students and thank everyone for helping me along the way.

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