02/11/10 — Miss N.C. tells club members to work hard

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Miss N.C. tells club members to work hard

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 11, 2010 1:46 PM

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Julie Tesh, left, Miss North Carolina International, talks with AKTION Club Vice President Rhonda Barwick before the club's meeting at the Herman Park Center on Wednesday. Miss Tesh spoke to the group on the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community.

Ryan Hood, president of the AKTION Club, wanted to invite Miss North Carolina International to speak at the club's two-year anniversary meeting last month but she had a scheduling conflict.

She was able to make it for the February meeting, though, which worked out fine for Hood.

"This is kind of like a Valentine's present for me to give to the club," he said Wednesday.

The AKTION Club -- the "K" is a nod to the Sunrise Kiwanis, which sponsors the club for people with disabilities -- has about two dozen members, said Nancy DeLia, co-adviser with John Chance.

"We give back to the community -- we do Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets, donate to juvenile diabetes and Edgewood School," she said. "This is an opportunity for them to govern themselves and give back to the community."

That was right in line with Miss North Carolina International's platform this year -- volunteering.

Julie Tesh of Greensboro, who competed in the Miss International pageant in Chicago in July, made it to the top 10 and was named favorite online contestant.

She spoke to the AKTION Club about her own experiences and challenges growing up.

"I'm 5-foot-tall, which is probably the shortest Miss North Carolina that you will ever meet," she said. "That didn't stop me."

Her dimunitive status also didn't keep her from defying the odds -- whether it was becoming a cheerleader or a White House intern this past spring or going on to win the titles of Miss Greensboro and then Miss North Carolina.

The power of a strong work ethic and great attitude worked in her favor, she said.

"I had a smile on my face because I was happy to be there and happy to have an opportunity," she said.

And while she might not have encountered the same obstacles as those in her audience, she encouraged them to believe in themselves and never give up.

"I believe in giving back to the community," she said. "My parents always taught me that to whom much is given, much is required. ... You have the power to make a difference and touch other people's lives. It doesn't matter if you can financially give or physically give."