Miss North Greenville visits Brooklyn Springs Elementary

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Lewellen uses literacy day to teach acceptance and awareness

By Michele Roberts

Brooklyn Springs Elementary School welcomed a special guest to celebrate International Reading Day.

Meredith Lewellen, niece of Brooklyn Springs Elementary principal Tonya Hunter, was crowned Miss North Greenville 2013. 

The 21-year-old Lancaster native is a resident of Landrum and attends North Greenville University. 

Lewellen’s platform as Miss North Greenville focuses on children with special educational needs, and her goal is to raise awareness of that cause.

“My platform is investing in the lives of those with special needs and intellectual disabilities,” she said. “I focused it on the Special Olympics, meaning I try to persuade schools and even colleges that if they give even just one hour of their time to Special Olympics, they can help these kids. Whether it’s helping out with the softball toss, or handing out refreshments, it helps these children. And with the schools, I also focus on the fact that these kids can reach their full potential, if you’ll just let them. So many times they are put away in separate places, even within the school system, and that isn’t going to encourage them to reach higher.”

Hunter said she called and asked Lewellen if she would come and read to the children as part of International Reading Day to help them understand there are differences in people, and differences should be understood and embraced.

“Because of her platform, I thought she would be a great person to speak to the students,” Hunter said. “What we want here is for our children to be accepting and appreciative of the differences in others, and not just appreciative, but be willing to help them. We want to encourage them to recognize and even celebrate the differences in others.”

Lewellen read two books to the students, “Special People, Special Ways” and “Ten Big Toes and A Prince’s Nose.” 

“I thought these would be a great way to communicate my platform to the students,” she said. “I’m really excited about being able to promote my platform in such a neat way as reading sweet books like this. And in the one book, ‘Special People, Special Ways,’ there are lots of little ‘hidden messages’ that say exactly what my platform promotes.”

“You know, children with special needs teach us things every day,” Lewellen said. “They teach us love, most of all, and can teach us many important lessons about self-esteem. I love promoting them in the things that I do.”

After leaving Brooklyn Springs, Lewellen also made appearances at Mount Pisgah Elementary School and Kershaw Elementary School.

Lewellen is the daughter of Scott and Ginger Lewellen. 

 She will graduate from North Greenville University in May with a degree in sports communication and will be working toward participating in the Miss South Carolina pageant, held in July.