Johna Edmonds doesn’t want to be known as just another pretty face. Miss North Carolina said she wanted to leave a legacy of literacy.
Edmonds participated in the Reading Oasis Book Fair Tuesday at Graham A. Barden Elementary School in Havelock, speaking with teachers, parents and students about the importance of literacy.
“For me, especially growing up, there were always a lot of hindrances,” Edmonds said of reading. “I want to share my story to let them know you can dream as far and wide as you want to. You just have to put you mind to it.”
The Lumberton native said she struggled with reading in the second grade when books stopped having pictures as guidelines.
“I struggled with comprehension because there were no more pictures in the books,” she said.
Edmonds said she had known for some time that she wanted literacy to be the main focus of her year-long service platform as Miss North Carolina.
The North Carolina State University graduate said that being Miss North Carolina is not just about being pretty.
“It’s not always about how beautiful you are on the outside,” Edmonds said. “I want my legacy to be the work that I’ve done with my platform.”
Libby Greene, media coordinator at Graham A. Barden, organized Edmonds’ visit for the book fair.
“I was actually reading a lot about her program on literacy and I messaged her on Facebook,” Greene said. “I looked up her contact information and found her.”
Teachers and students alike stepped up to have newly purchased books autographed by Edmonds. Alina Jackson, a fourth-grader, was one of them.
“It was awesome, because this was my first time getting a book signed,” said Jackson.
In the book, Edmonds wrote “Always Dream Big.”
“I couldn’t wait for her to get here, because she is so excited about literacy,” said Christine White, a reading teacher at the school.
White saw the enthusiasm in the students in anticipation of Edmonds’ visit.
“They have been extremely excited,” she said. “They have been talking about it all day.”
After taking a year off from her education while serving as Miss North Carolina, Edmonds said she would return to N.C. State as a graduate student to obtain her master’s degree in accounting and then enter the workforce at a major accounting firm.