With her trusty Welsh corgi and a new pageant crown, Kayla Black is heading back to Texas Tech University in Lubbock to live in an off-campus apartment for a sophomore experience she knows will be unlike anything she has experienced.
Although Texas Tech plans to reopen its campus, all of Black’s fall classes will be online, the 19-year-old said.
“The 2020 fall semester is going to be very different for all Red Raiders, but I am ready to start my sophomore year of college,” said Black, who graduated in 2018 from Pearland High School. “All of my classes this year will be virtual, which will help keep me from being exposed to the virus, but if I plan on studying at the library, you will find me wearing my mask and practicing social distancing.”
Last year, she lived in a dormitory for her freshman year, which is required by the college.
She is keeping her focus on her career goals.
“My dream is to become a corporate executive in advertising for the Walt Disney Co.,” Black said.
At Pearland High, she was a cheerleader all four years. She recently won her “dream title” — National American Miss North Texas — and a ticket to the national finals, which are planned for Thanksgiving weekend in Orlando, Fla.
Since March, when Tech students were released before spring break, the daughter of Keith and Annette Black has been home with her parents and her 3-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi, Bentley. She recently completed a summer school course online that imagined her and three fellow students as the owners of a shoe company.
“It was nine hours of business classes which ended with a final group presentation that dealt with marketing, operations management and an accounting of finances for how we could run a business and make a profit,” Black said.
Title won online
Black also won her NAM title online, which was a departure from her many onstage competitions, which began with Black winning her age group at the 2009 Pasadena Strawberry Festival in an up-do hairstyle with quaint curls.
Next, she and her mother, a 1986 graduate of Dobie High School, entered the first pageant sponsored by the Texas Chiropractic College in Pasadena, and each won their respective division.
Kayla Black continued in pageantry, collecting titles in various systems.
This summer, she advanced to NAM by applying for the North Texas crown via the digisphere.
“First, I submitted a 30-second personal introduction video,” she said. “My mom filmed it on my phone.”
In addition, Black sent a photograph and an approximately 250-word essay on the platform, domestic violence awareness, that she will champion in Lubbock with the help of her Alpha Chi Omega sorority sisters.
Finally, Black fielded questions from a NAM judge on a 30-minute Zoom call.
“There were more questions asked than a usual interview of 10 minutes or less,” she said. “The judge got to get to know a lot more about me.”
That information included how Black has traveled to Paris, London, Japan and Hawaii, and how, in her spare time, she paints messages rocks for her friends with inspirational messages such as “You matter” and “Choose happiness.”
The winner of National American Miss will receive a $5,000 scholarship and other prizes. For further information, visit www.namiss.com.
While Black competed online for her dream title, she received her crown and sash onstage at the NAM South Texas Pageant, held Aug. 14-16 in Houston.
She wore a red Sherri Hill tulle ball gown with cap sleeves and a beaded bodice.
Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be contacted at email@example.com