TAYLOR COUNTY—After being selected as the 2022 Worlds Mrs. West Virginia Tourism, Grafton resident Angela McDougal has set her sights on a bigger stage in hopes of drawing awareness to the importance of non-traditional learning opportunities for students.
Upon winning her title earlier this month, McDougal learned that she would be advancing to a grander stage, to compete against women of various backgrounds and ethnicities, at the end of July and shares that she is excited to do so.
“At the World’s Tourism pageant, I will represent West Virginia against women from around the world,” she explained. “I grew up in West Virginia, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to represent this great state, as well as Grafton.”
What started as a way to help increase her public speaking skills has grown into a passion of McDougal’s.
“The pageants provided me with a platform to share my passion for helping students graduate high school,” voiced McDougal. “And I chose the World’s Tourism pageant because it gave me a larger platform to share what I have learned about education in West Virginia, and with it I hope to influence other states to start programs like our Option Pathway.”
The Option Pathway is a West Virginia Department of Education initiative that serves as an alternative means for at-risk students to stay in school and earn a high school diploma.
The program is designed for students who have credit deficiencies at least one year behind their ninth grade cohort and/or who are at high risk of dropping out of school due to personal issues or because they are age-inappropriate for their current grade level.
“The Option Pathway is at the core of my platform, which is to raise awareness of alternate means to earn a high school diploma,” McDougal explained. “I hope to encourage other states to understand the importance of the vocational trades and realize that traditional school settings are not for everyone.”
In fact, the platform is very close to McDougal’s heart, as it is an area that she knows all too well.
“I served ten years in the 363rd Military Police Company, and after my deployment to Iraq 11 years ago, I started working at the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy,” McDougal revealed. “It was there I became interested in students having alternate means for an education.”
That interest only continued to grow when she transferred to the Mountaineer Job ChalleNGe, where students were placed on diploma track in addition to their vocational programs.
McDougal hopes to change the face of education through her pageantry.
“I am excited to continue to bring awareness to non-traditional learning through vocational trades,” she voiced. “College is great, but sometimes, it’s just not the right fit for everyone.”
When not on the stage working for a better future for students, McDougal enjoys spending time with her husband, son and stepson.
She shared that without their encouragement, along with the support and guidance of her state director, Gary Beamer, her pageant success would not be possible.
The staff of the Mountain Statesman would like to congratulate Angela on her recent title and wish her the best of luck at the 2022 World’s Tourism Pageant.