PENDLETON — Dream big and dream on the scale of the impossible, said Daja Dial, a Clemson University student who went on to become Miss SC 2015 and seventh runner-up in the Miss America contest.
Dial was the keynote speaker at Tri-County Technical College’s 36th annual Upward Bound Awards reception where high school students were recognized for their outstanding achievement and most improvement in assessment, English, math and science.
Upward Bound is designed to help high school students to bridge the gap between secondary school and college and to provide them with financial and academic resources to prepare for post-secondary education.
The Upward Bound project, sponsored by Tri-County, serves ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th graders from Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties and provides high school students with services year-round through its academic and summer bridge components.
Dial said pageant participation will allow her to graduate with a Health Management degree from Clemson University debt free and has given her a platform to be an advocate for diabetes, a cause close to her heart after her older brother was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes.
A Spartanburg native, Dial is a former Clemson University cheerleader and Miss Clemson 2013. She travels as spokesman for the Children’s Miracle Network speaking about Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. She earned a Duke of Edinburgh gold medal for raising the most money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals out of all Miss America contestants. She also is co-founder of Tempo Sports Academy.
Following her speech, Maya Earle, a senior at Pickens High School, received the Most Improvement in English Award, and Chasity Bradley, a graduate of Easley High School, was honored with an Outstanding Academic Achiever Bridge Component Award.