Miss Tennessee inspires students to do well on TCAP

Friday, April 25, 2014
The reigning Miss Tennessee, Shelby Thompson of Franklin, is pictured speaking to students at Cornersville Elementary School Thursday morning.

By Karen Hall


Elementary school students across the state will be facing TCAP testing next week, and Thursday Marshall County students got some special encouragement from Miss Tennessee.

Shelby Thompson, 24, of Franklin, started her visit at Cornersville Elementary, and talked to students about trustworthiness, and mentally building trust towers with their peers, teachers, and parents.

"You build trust one block at a time, one good decision at a time," Thompson said. "You do not have time to start all over again building trust, so think twice before making a decision that will destroy trust."

She got six girls to come up and sing Taylor Swift's "Mean" with her, and acknowledged it took courage to stand up in front of everyone.

"Use that same courage when you're faced with a tough decision," Thompson said.

Then she got two fifth-grade boys to come up and help her explain the meaning of reputation.

When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, one said "Atlanta Braves baseball player" and the other said "mechanic."

Thompson asked them what "words you want people to use when they describe you?" and the answers were, "Awesome, kind, and talented."

"Never miss an opportunity to earn those words," she said.

Thompson confided she needed help with her studies all the way through school, but she succeeded thanks to help from lots of people. She urged the Cornersville students to ask for help whenever they needed it.

It took Thompson five years of competition to win the title of Miss Tennessee, making her one of the oldest in recent years. Her dream was to be Miss America, and she described being there, and then not hearing her name called for the final 15.

"It was over for me," she exclaimed. "But I still got the best job in the entire world," going all over the state and talking to students. So far, Thompson has traveled 80,000 miles, and talked to 50,000 students.

All the students joined her in promising to be trustworthy, honest, and courageous; to build a great reputation, set big goals, find the best role models, and ask for help if they need it.

Then they filed out of the gym class by class to sign the old school bus parked outside, pledging to do their best on the TCAP test.

This is the second year in a row Miss Tennessee has been at Cornersville Elementary before the TCAP testing, said Principal Cheryl Ewing.