A North Carolina Central University sophomore student will represent the state in the upcoming Miss America pageant. Carrie Everett from Johnston County took home the crown in a ceremony on June 30.

“When I registered to compete this year, I only had $40 in my pocket,” Everett said, according to ABC11. “That is the reality of many young women in this country. I believe in the Miss America Opportunity, what it has done and what it continues to do for young women like me. With this title, I am empowered and ready to facilitate a new culture of equity within this brand.”

Throughout the competition, she promoted her community service initiative, “We Need Equity to Build Communities.” She was awarded $20,000 and a car for the year from Knox Auto Sales in Dunn. She also won $3,500 in scholarships as part of other awards during pageant week. Some of these awards include Preliminary Talent, Preliminary Evening Gown, the Vocal Talent Award and the Rookie Scholarship. Everett performed the song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls.

“The crowning of Carrie Everett marks another opportunity to present to the state the unique experience, talents, and civic commitment of this exceptional NCCU student,” David Clegg, the president and chairman of the Miss North Carolina Organization Board of Directors, said.

Everett is the fourth Black woman to take home the title since the pageant began in 1937. Previous titles were won by Deneen Graham in 1983, Alexandra Badgett in 2019-2020 and Karolyn Martin in 2022.