Angela Perez Baraquio
Miss America 2001
April 27, 2001 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT

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Angela Perez Baraquio
Before the United States got an education president, it got another national figure who is championing education: Angela Perez Baraquio, Miss America 2001. Crowned in October 2000, the 24-year-old native of Honolulu, Hawaii chose as her platform “Character in the Classroom: Teaching Values, Valuing Teachers.”

“Children are dying every day from drug overdoses, violence and suicides because they have fewer and fewer decent role models to influence them,” she says. “Schools can help by paying greater attention to establishing the caring environment that our children need.” But she warns that this will not happen unless the United States places a higher value on its teachers. “If America’s teachers are to be responsible for teaching our children to become honorable people, then America’s teachers need to be treated like honorable people,” she says. They should not be forced to reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies, or even to leave the profession because the salaries offered are too low.

She should know: before becoming Miss America, Baraquio taught physical education to kindergarten to third graders, and was a 5th-8th grade coach and athletic director in Hawaii. Her goal when her tenure as Miss America is over is to complete a Master’s degree in education administration. In the meantime, crisscrossing the country with her message about character education, she has already spoken to conferences, students and high-level politicians – including the governors of Arkansas and Louisiana -- in about a dozen states.

A graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa with a degree in Elementary Education, Baraquio was an honor student and is a recipient of several student teaching awards and scholarships. She has worked as a host and interviewer for a local television program in Honolulu, played keyboards and sung for an all-girl rock group called High Tide, and served as choir director at Waikiki Catholic Church.

Related Links:
The Miss America Organization