BY JEANNE K. CALLEN
The Greenville Standard
Last Saturday four Miss Alabama contestants including Miss Camellia Loni Blatz, 11 volunteers as well as Miss Camellia Outstanding Teen Samantha Hennings and Rising Star Mattie Cook, a third grader at Greenville Elementary School (GES), participated in the 4th annual Miss America Serves Day by helping paint the halls and bathrooms of GES.
The Miss America Organization (MAO) started the Miss America Serves Day in an effort to bring people across America together on the first Saturday in April to work on service projects that benefit and enrich either an individual, a group or a community.
Miss Alabama Jessica Proctor and State Field Director Debra Talley were on hand first thing Saturday morning to kick off the Miss America Serves Day, making Greenville their first stop on their trek across the state. Proctor and Talley spent Friday night in a local hotel and enjoyed a delicious supper at Wentzell’s Oyster House so GES could be their first stop.
Proctor was able to help paint for about a half hour before continuing on her journey north.
This year the Miss Camellia Organization chose to stay in Greenville, instead of choosing from several other service projects across the state, and work on an ongoing beautification project at GES that is headed by Debra Stryker and Tiffany Brookes, a special education teacher at GES.
The school, built in the 1930’s and first served as Greenville High School, is in need of a face-lift that the two women have undertaken with a few volunteers including students.
On Saturday the contestants and volunteers painted the halls a deep grey from the handrails down, painted bathroom stalls and planted a few flowers.
Principal Kent McNaughton arrived on a tractor to move loose concrete and remove a few volunteer trees.
Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs were served for lunch.
Even though the work was hard and dirty at times, the painters had a grand time talking and laughing as they worked making the time pass quickly.
Brooks said, “We started working on the school beautification project in August when school started with a drastic renovation of the bathrooms, and there are plans for a new play-ground.”
Brooks said they were also proud of a $5,000 grant from Lowes they had been awarded to renovate the library, and there were also plans in place to renovate the teachers’ lounge.
Volunteers and contestants were asked by the MAO as part of Miss America Serves Day to make a minimum donation of $20 to Children’s Miracle Network, the official platform of Miss America, but the donation was, not mandatory. The GES team hopes to raise $2,000 by April 13.
There is still plenty to do at GES if anyone would like to volunteer their time, a service or a monetary donation. Contact Stryker or Brooks at GES to offer your time.
With other schools in Butler County in need of a helping hand, the Miss Camellia Organization hopes to make Miss America Serves Day an annual event.