Beauty pageantís goal is to restore peace: RCTC student competes with a purpose

By Ilhan Raage


From left, Achai Biong, Yar Kang and Awel Lam all have been in beauty pageants before. Lam competed in the Miss South Sudan USA pagent on Nov. 3. (Photo courtesy Joe Ahlquist of Rochester Post Bulletin)

Everyone has their defining moment in life, the moment in which they discover a greater truth about themselves. For some, it is that they realize what career they want, who they love, or what they intend for their future.

On Nov. 3, former RCTC student Awel Lam competed in the South Sudan USA beauty pageant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Although it was on hold for several years due to unrest in South Sudan, it was restarted this year. Yar Kang is the organizer of the pageant.

For Awel, her defining moment was when she visited South Sudan in 2016 that she realized that she wanted to go into public health.

Before that, she went to Sunset Terrace Elementary School, Kellogg Middle School, John Marshall, and then finally RCTC. She wasnít committed to being full-time because she wasnít sure what she wanted to do in college.

After he trip to South Sudan, she came back to complete her AA in Liberal Arts and Science and then she transferred to U of Minnesota- Duluth to major in public health.

She is currently a senior and will graduate this spring. She will be an intern for Olmsted County Health Services from January to May.

Lam said that the pageant was able to be continued because a peace agreement was reached. ìThis is a sign of moving forward with peace in our country.î The winner of the pageant would be the ambassador of peace and a beacon of hope.

ìWe contribute positively to our community,î said Lam. ìEven though there are negative things displayed about South Sudanese people, there are many immigrants doing well and working hard to get an education.î

Lam wanted to thank her anatomy teacher, Professor Hadinga, because he ìreally helped me by encouraging my strength and pushing me to UM-Duluth.î Another teacher she mentioned was Don Baldus, because he was ìa great person who helped me get from low level math to college algebra.î

ìI really appreciated them,î she said.