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Miss Virginia Partners with Virginia ABC to Teach Students about Making Smart Choices

Miss Virginia Emili McPhail

Beginning this fall, Miss Virginia Emili McPhail will share the importance of making healthy choices with students in Virginia elementary schools as part of a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) educational program.

Virginia ABC has a long-standing partnership with the Miss Virginia Organization. Last year, Miss Virginia Cecili Weber reached thousands of elementary school students with her message about making smart choices. Virginia ABC’s Education and Prevention Section is continuing that working relationship with McPhail for the Miss Virginia School Tour in 2018-19. Supported by a $10,000 ABC grant, her tour will feature programs at elementary schools across the state throughout the school year.

McPhail, a resident of Roanoke and 2018 graduate of Hollins University, was named Miss Virginia in June.  During presentations at elementary schools, she plans to encourage students to make healthy, smart and informed decisions. Her platform, which centers on ending hunger in the U.S., depends on breaking the cycles of poverty, hunger and substance use that break communities.

“It is so very important that we all contribute to making our communities healthier places to live, and that begins with making good choices,” said McPhail. “I hope to leave every place I go on the tour a little bit better than I found it.”

The Miss Virginia Organization and Virginia ABC share the combined mission of educating students about making positive decisions to better prepare for success.

“As Miss Virginia travels around the commonwealth speaking to young children, it’s important to share age-appropriate information about alcohol to protect them from dangerous behaviors as they grow older,” said Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Section Manager Katie Weaks.

Participants in the school programs will learn:

  • how to identify what is safe and healthy for their bodies;
  • what positive choices are and how to make them;
  • how to say “no” to unhealthy choices;
  • what it means to be a leader in their community and among their friends; and
  • how to identify who is a trusted adult and the role they play in their lives.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to help young people and hopefully strengthen our communities,” added McPhail.

Schools interested in scheduling a Miss Virginia appearance may request a school tour stop by visiting

The Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Section provides free publications that can be ordered online. This includes one created specifically for elementary school students, which is distributed to all tour stop participants. For the order form, visit

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