“Respect” was message sent to Bobby Ray Elementary students on Wednesday by Miss Tennessee 2017 Caty Davis.
“Treat others the way you want to be treated,” said Davis while addressing students during an assembly. “That’s being respectful. We have to respect our teachers. We also have to respect ourselves by taking care of our bodies.”
One student from each grade level was selected from the audience to participate in an exercise about respecting others. Each was asked to name a classmate and give them a compliment. Among those were Rissa Neilson, who talked about how great Chloe is for playing with her at recess.
Davis expressed why compliments are a benefit to others, “How many of you give compliments? Someone told me they liked my hair today and it changed my whole day. Have you ever had a bad day? They happen. All it takes is one compliment to turn that day around.”
Davis was crowned Miss Tennessee on June 24, 2017. She serves as Gov. Bill Haslam’s official spokesperson for character education and has traveled over 80,000 miles speaking to 50,000 school children.
She also spoke about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and specifically, her father’s addiction. He died when she was 19 years old after years of struggling.
“He abused drugs and alcohol from a young age,” she said. “I watched him struggle with addiction. For a long time I thought it was my fault. It wasn’t my fault.”
She shared the four C’s with students: “I didn’t cause it,” and “I can’t cure it,” but “I can celebrate myself,” and “make good choices.”
Throughout tough days, Davis says her mother was her biggest inspiration. She said by focusing on academics and having a musical outlet, she was able to overcome.
“Music was a way of expressing myself,” she said. “That was my way of coping. I enjoy singing. It helps me tremendously.”
Davis sang “Rocky Top” for the students.