Being Miss South Carolina has always been a dream of Kelly McCorkle, and now it is a dream come true. On July 13, 2002, this Greenville native’s life was changed forever.
McCorkle, 23, is a member of Taylors First Baptist Church. Being a Christian and a Southern Baptist “has been a foundation for all the decisions in my life. Growing up at Taylors First Baptist has influenced my life greatly,” said McCorkle.
“I have been able to speak in churches, schools, civic organizations, even to alternative settings like homes for troubled boys and share my faith and belief in Jesus Christ,” McCorkle explained. “I have been able to use Psalms 1 as a passage to show how staying out of trouble and in the Will of God will take you far in life.”
Learning disabilities form McCorkle’s platform. She hopes that her struggle and triumph over her learning disability will send the message to children with learning disabilities that they too can make it far in life and become successful. McCorkle’s ultimate goal for this year is to work with the government of South Carolina to get an Alternative Diploma Bill passed. This will allow students with learning disabilities the chance to earn a high school diploma and even continue to college.
Her favorite part of wearing the crown is getting to meet people of all different backgrounds. “I love to go around the state and speak to people. I love to meet them even more, to talk to them and get to know them, from babies to senior citizens,” stated McCorkle.
A December 2001 graduate of North Greenville College, McCorkle says that the time she spent at North Greenville College prepared her for the year of wearing the crown and being the hostess for South Carolina. “I love and appreciate NGC; you don’t realize how much it does for your heart and soul. I’ll never forget what North Greenville College has done for me,” she said. Having graduated from NGC with a B.A. in Mass Communication, Kelly said that she feels more comfortable with the media because she knows how it works.
McCorkle just recently returned from the Miss America pageant where she was a top 15 finalist. “There was a flood of emotion when they announced my name, then I started thinking that I was first and that I would have to get ready. My mind was focused on what I had to do,” stated McCorkle. She also said that she felt disappointed when she did not make the next cut; however, she knew “God is bigger than the Miss America pageant. He could have worked it out for me to win. I know God has a reason for me being Miss South Carolina this year. I am just a willing servant of His.”
McCorkle is currently traveling around the state speaking to different groups and organizations. Her goal is to have a speaking engagement every day. She stressed, “I really hope that I hear from churches, civic organizations, schools, and a lot of other people asking me to come to speak. I love to share my testimony, and I want to let everyone know how God can do anything, like He did in my life, as someone with a learning disability.”
McCorkle’s plan after this year is to go into public relations. “I am not sure where God wants me right now; hopefully during this year a door will be open. I would love to work for a non-profit organization, the military, or a big corporation,” she stated. McCorkle continues, “My life goal is to try to serve God in whatever capacity he has for me. My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans that I have for you said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Article published in the Spring 2003 issue of the North Greenville College Magazine.