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Reigning Miss America visits with Clayton Comets

Miss America 2019, Nia Imani Franklin, visited with students at Clayton High School on Friday, March 1, to share an inspirational message about perseverance.

Franklin, who spoke to approximately 200 students in the school’s auditorium, encouraged each of the students to follow their passion in life.

“Whatever your doing in life you have to find your passion and let that inspire you,” said Franklin. “Believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.”

Franklin, originally from North Carolina, moved to New York to follow her passion for music, where she was crowned Miss New York. She said that she was thankful for the opportunity to return home and to be able to share her story with so many students.

“This is my home state,” she said. “It makes me so happy to speak with them about my journey and encourage them to be their best selves, because that’s what we all should be striving to do in life.”

During her presentation Franklin performed an original song while simultaneously playing the piano. She also took time to answer questions from students and take photos.

“Miss America visiting our school today meant the world to me, and I know it did to the other students as well,” said Miss Clayton High Taylor Corpening. “We never thought someone so cool and philanthropic could come and visit us.”

Clayton High Principal Bennett Jones presented Franklin with a Clayton High t-shirt and bracelet as a thank you gift for her visit.

Franklin was brought back to the Clayton community after being crowned Miss Capital City 2016. She also plans to attend the 2019 Miss Capital City, Miss Clayton, and Miss Cleveland Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, March 2.

Franklin was born in Winston-Salem and lived in the state through graduate school. She earned an undergraduate degree in composition from East Carolina University and a master’s in fine arts from The University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts, according to the Miss America Organization.