College of the Holy Cross alumna Shala Murray ’10, Ms. New England 2015, will take the stage on Saturday, Aug. 29 and compete for the title of Ms. America 2015 at the Curtis Theatre in Brea, Calif. For Murray, winning the title is not about the glamour of donning a new crown and sash—it is about the opportunity to bring awareness to her platform: educational equity.
Murray sees her participation in pageants as a call to action to help the growing population of at-risk youths. While Murray pursued a degree in English from Holy Cross, she volunteered with Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest and became a Big Sister to an 8-year-old girl. Through this experience Murray realized her true passion—working with underserved youths. She focuses her efforts on educational equity, which encourages achievement, fairness and opportunity in education for all.
“I am excited and honored to compete in the Ms. America Pageant,” says Murray. “I am proud to be associated with an organization that is a strong purveyor of empowering women and encourages those who participate to use the ‘crown for a purpose’ and encourages community service.”
The value of quality education runs deep for Murray. After she graduated from Holy Cross she became an Americorps volunteer and taught fifth grade at the Nativity School in Worcester. During her fellowship there, Murray continued her education, earning her M.A. in teaching from Clark University. She then joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest as an interview and match support specialist and as assistant director of operations. Murray’s quest for knowledge continued, and she enrolled in Clark’s dual-degree master’s program to pursue an M.B.A. and M.A. in community development and planning. She graduated from the program in May.
Murray grew up in Attleboro, Mass., and is a first-generation college graduate and the oldest of eight children. When at home with her family, she tries to set a good example for her siblings and encourages them to volunteer in the community.
The Ms. America competition will be live streamed on www.AlertTHEGlobe.com starting at 10:30 p.m. EST on Aug. 29. The contestants will compete in categories including interview, sportswear, evening gown and on-stage questions.
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