Miss Alabama High School raising bullying awareness

Published 12:11 am Friday, November 25, 2016

Andalusia High School junior Catherine Weed recently was named Miss Alabama High School, and will advance to the national pageant in Little Rock, Ark., this summer.
Weed won the title from a field of 30 girls in a pageant held in Tuscaloosa.
“There were about 30 girls in my division,” she said. “If felt like I made 30 new friends that day.”

Catherine Weed, center, was named Miss Alabama High School.

Catherine Weed, center, was named Miss Alabama High School.

The young women from across Alabama competed in three different categories – interview, fun fashion and evening gown. This is Weed’s second year to serve as Miss Alabama High School. Last year, she competed at large in the national pageant in San Antonio.
She only began doing pageants a year ago. Most people find being interviewed by the judges the most difficult part.
“It definitely made me nervous starting out,” she said. “But it’s like a conversation. You are just talking to them about yourself. I have a hard time talking about myself sometimes. But once you get comfortable with it, it’s just a conversation.”
To develop those interview skills, Weed said she practiced some with her mom.
“But you have to remember, you don’t want to sound scripted,” she said. “You just need to know the things about yourself, and go with the flow.”
Weed describes herself as an introvert, and said one reason she began doing pageants was to build self esteem.

“Pageants gave me a voice,” she said. “It’s also good with scholarships for college.”
Weed’s platform, and the pageant’s platform, is built around preventing bullying.
“It’s about building respect and values for everyone,” she said. “It talks about bullying, and how to be an upstander, not a bystander.
“I go to schools, and talk about bullying,” she said. “I want kids to learn how to cope with bullying before it starts happening. I believe early education is important.”
Weed said most everyone has experienced bullying, but awareness has recently increased.
First, she encourages individuals to stand up for others who are being bullied. IF that doesn’t work, she said, find a teacher or an adult to intervene.
“If nothing else, just say, ‘Stop, that’s mean, don’t do that.’ ”
Weed is a majorette, dances with the Andalusia Ballet, is active in the outreach ministries of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, is in Key Club, and plays oboe. She said she loves to read.
She is the daughter of Jon and Beth Weed, and has a twin brother, Jonathan.
She has not yet chosen a career path, but is considering broadcast journalism.