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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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Miss Virginia visits middle school students
Desiree Williams talked about goals, effects of drugs
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: Miss Virginia paid a visit to Benjamin Franklin Middle School Monday to talk with students about the importance of good decision-making and the negative impact of drug and alcohol abuse.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Miss Virginia Desiree Williams visited Benjamin Franklin Middle School Monday to speak with students about making good decisions and the negative effects of drugs and alcohol.

Goals are things that should be shared with someone for accountability, Williams said.

"Had I not shared my goal with someone else who would hold me accountable, I wouldn't be standing here today," she said.

Williams encouraged the students to set their goals, write them down, share them with others and to see them through.

"You don't have to be perfect, but you do have a responsibility to try," she said.

Williams also spoke about the importance of having a positive attitude and ways to express anger positively.

"I don't wake up everyday happy and in a great mood," Williams said, "but I make a choice to be positive instead of angry. Tell someone how you are feeling. Don't keep your feelings inside."

Williams quoted Benjamin Franklin, saying, "Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one."

Williams encouraged the students to make sure that the choices they make in life line up with their goals.

"I remember being a middle school student and having to choose between what was 'right' and what was 'cool,'" she said. "I lost some friends along the way, but if those friends aren't in line with your goals, you should probably let those friends go. They are not going to help you get where you want to go."

Part of making responsible choices includes staying away from drugs and alcohol, Williams said, informing the students that their brains are still developing until they are in their 20s.

"Anytime you put anything into your body, it can go to your brain, which is still developing," said Williams, before showing students pictures of young stars who have ruined their lives and careers by choosing to drink and do drugs.

After the assembly, students were treated to a "Mr. Virginia" pageant in which five male students competed for the title. The winner received a crown and much applause from his classmates.

Williams, 24, completed her undergraduate studies at Hampton University, where she is currently pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy.

She will represent Virginia in the next Miss America Pageant, the largest scholarship provider for women in the world with over $45 million in scholarships each year.

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