First Posted: 1/15/2009
ST. PAULS -- Rebekah Revels is getting on with her life. She said Wednesday that she will be attending The University of North Carolina at Pembroke this fall.
She spoke two days after she received a certified letter from the Miss North Carolina Pageant Association informing her that the $12,000 scholarship Revels thought she lost when she resigned as Miss North Carolina last month is hers to keep.
“I just want people to know they've reinstated my scholarship, because I know a lot of people around here were working on raising money for me,” she said.
In a letter dated July 31, James K. Pendergrass Jr., an attorney for the Miss North Carolina Pageant Association, told Revels that the association erred when it informed her that she would have to forfeit the scholarship.
“Having been crowned Miss North Carolina, you are still entitled to your scholarship award,” Pendergrass wrote.
Revels is also allowed to keep $850 worth of prize money she earned by winning the preliminary talent, swimsuit and community service competitions during the Miss North Carolina contest.
Asked why Revels didn't have to forfeit the scholarship, Alan Clouse, executive director of the Miss North Carolina Pageant Association, said, “It's just a rule that they don't have to give up the scholarship once they've won the crown.”
He said that Misty Clymer, who replaces Revels as Miss North Carolina 2002, will also receive a scholarship, but he said he didn't know how much money Clymer would receive.
“They each get what they earned when the crown was issued,” Clouse said. “I don't have that here in my office.”
Because it was believed that Revels' scholarship was gone, the St. Pauls Chamber of Commerce had planned to raise money to help pay for her education. She taught 10th-grade English at Lumberton High School last year and has aspirations of earning a doctorate degree in education.
Now that the scholarship money has been reinstated, the Chamber plans to name a scholarship in Revels' name, according to Paul Terry, executive assistant to the chamber's board of directors.
“We're starting a Rebekah Revels 'Follow Your Dream Scholarship,' ” he said. “It will be a chamber scholarship, in her name, presented every year to a St. Pauls High School student. I'm hoping she'll come back and present the first one next spring.”
Terry said money for the scholarship will be raised at the reception and through the mail.
Show goes on
A 24-year-old St. Pauls native, Revels resigned as Miss North Carolina last month after an ex-boyfriend told Miss America officials that he had topless photos of her. Despite the controversy, Deena Revels, Rebekah's mother, said people have shown unyielding support.
“Everything has been so positive,” Deena said. “We've been overwhelmed; people have been so kind. They share the depth of our misery and have identified with us. We've been treated so good. There couldn't be a better place to live than Robeson County.”
Along with the scholarship, Terry says the St. Pauls Chamber is sponsoring a parade and reception for Revels on Aug. 16. The parade will begin on Broad Street and proceed to the R.E. Hooks Center, where the reception is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is free and “light” refreshments will be served.
According to Terry, Revels will ride in a horse-drawn carriage down Broad Street to the Hooks Center. Although Terry says the parade will be “very short,” he said he expects hundreds of people to attend the reception, the theme of which is “Welcome Home, Rebekah.”
“This is kind of a way of showing the community's support,” Terry said. “Everything's been positive. Everything we've experienced has been very positive for Rebekah. Everybody's behind her; we think she had a great shot at winning Miss America.
“We're disappointed she won't get that chance, but we're not at all disappointed in Rebekah.”
At the reception, the Chamber of Commerce will set up a silver bowl where people can make donations to the scholarship fund.
Terry said the St. Pauls High School band and the school's color guard will perform at the reception. He said that Revels also plans to sing the Italian aria that helped her claim the Miss Fayetteville and Miss North Carolina titles.
Donations to a scholarship fund in Rebekah Revels' name may be made to the following address. The scholarship will be available to students at St. Pauls High School.
Rebekah Revels Scholarship Fund
c/o Lumbee Bank
P.O. Box 176
St. Pauls, N.C. 28384