By Lindsey McLemore | Reporter
San Antonio junior Caroline Carothers competed in the Miss America pageant this summer. She was the first Miss Texas in nearly 10 years to compete at all levels of the on-stage competition and even placed in the top seven overall. Now, Carothers is taking time to step away from her studies at Baylor to travel across the state, tend to the responsibilities of her title and share the message of her charitable platform with Texas schools.
Starting Monday, Carothers will be working with at-risk students in Texas public elementary schools on an initiative to teach the importance of math and education in schools, with the help of her sponsors in the Miss Texas pageant and Amazon Education. With Amazon’s ‘With Math I Can,’ Carothers aims to change the all-too-common mindset of being bad at math and encourage the idea of math being a process of constant growth and development filled with personal achievement.
Carothers discovered “With Math I Can” while trying to learn about the parent organization, Amazon Education, in hopes of finding resources for her future career in teaching.
“From an [aspiring] teacher’s perspective, I thought it was fantastic,” Carothers said. “We need to help students develop the mindset that math is, in fact, a growth process. I wanted to know how I could get involved, so I sent Amazon Education an email, and now I’m in constant contact with their representatives and use ‘With Math I Can’ to support my Miss Texas platform in schools.”
Although Carothers will be spending the 2016-17 school year traveling as Miss Texas,(including one stop in Waco for the Baylor homecoming parade), she plans to return to campus next year and continue her education to become a high school math teacher.
Waco sophomore Kolby Kayworth, America’s National Teenager 2016, attended the Miss America pageant and watched Carothers compete.
“Caroline and I were really good friends before I came to Baylor, since we are both involved with pageants, so it really meant a lot to share [the Miss America pageant] experience with her,” Kayworth said.
During the course of the pageant, guests and contestants met with previous Miss America winners who have gone on to work in Hollywood, the fashion industry and more. And although Carothers did not win, she still doesn’t want to follow that path. Instead, she plans to teach high school math.
“There were a lot of really famous women at Miss America, but I think the fact that Caroline still wants to teach really sets her apart from them and probably contributed to her success in the pageant,” Kayworth said.
“I think the farthest I’d ever go away from teaching would be to work more with Amazon for ‘With Math I Can,’ Carothers said. “I’m really excited to begin my work with them, but my heart will always be in the classroom.”