Miss Shelby County visits Wilsonville Elementary

Miss Shelby County Megan Picklesimer and students at Wilsonville Elementary School celebrate, exclaiming, “Reading Rocks!” (Contributed)

By KENNEDY TOLBERT / Community Columnist

A cafeteria full of wide-eyed little faces were focused on the stage as Megan Picklesimer, reigning Miss Shelby County, spoke to them about her platform, Literacy Matters, and taught the students at Wilsonville Elementary School a very valuable lesson.

Jennifer Riddle, the school counselor, and the students have focused a lot on bullying and its consequence to yourself and others this year.

The book Megan chose to bring and read to them was called, “One,” by Kathryn Otoshi.

The book was about a bully who was mean to everyone and in the end it took one person to stand up and do the right thing to make a difference. The book tells a powerful story about accepting others and appreciating how everyone is special in their own way.

Megan entertained the students, saying she was in the 16th grade, and went on to explain how she is a fourth-year student at Troy University.

“I came to talk to you today because I care so much about you and your journey with reading,” she told them.

Picklesimer explained one reason she competes in pageants is so she can have the opportunity to win scholarship money to go back to school.

“See, after you graduate high school, you have to pay to go to school,” she explained to them all.

The students mumbled in excitement when Megan went on to say, “I have traveled all over the world. I have been to Africa. I have been to England. I’ve even been to the North Pole, and do you know how I’ve done that? I’ve opened up the pages on one of these right here,” she said, pointing to a book.

The students were full of questions after Megan spoke and one student asked her, “What do you get as an encouragement?”

Megan replied it was going out to schools and visiting students like them, where kind words and smiles make a difference.

“Your faces light up about either meeting me or reading or writing. That’s encouragement to me,” she told them.

Megan will participate in Miss Alabama June 8-11. She will be number three out of the 48 girls competing, and will compete in talent first, after her interview Wednesday morning.

Following that, the contestants will do on-stage questions, and finally evening gown competition.

“I’m really excited. I’ve been competing for four years now in preliminaries and to finally win that title would be awesome.” She talked about the hard work it took in 28 previous pageants to earn her way to a shot at the Miss Alabama crown.

Megan graduates in May and plans to attend the University of Montevallo after that, using scholarship money she won through Miss Shelby County.

To see more of what Megan is doing with Literacy Matters, and find great books to read, visit her blog at Literacymattersweekly.blogspot.com.

Kennedy Tolbert, the community columnist for Wilsonville, can be reached at kennedytolbert@bellsouth.net.