As far as priorities go, as a young adult, Minden resident Coraleigh Bales doesn’t hesitate to insist how important education is to her.
Despite winning the 2014 Miss Silver State beauty pageant, Bales hasn’t lost sight of what role education will play in her future after graduating on Monday from Western Nevada College with an Associate of General Studies degree.
“Education, I would argue, is one of the most unappreciated opportunities this country has to offer. It is such a blessing.” she said. “Schooling will launch my ambitions into reality — it is the propeller for what I want to accomplish in life.
“The passing on of knowledge, the discovering of one’s abilities, and the chance to exceed at endeavors … education embellishes society to become a brighter place.”
In the fall, Bales will attend Thrive Leadership School and begin an internship at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, Calif. She’ll also continue working toward her Bachelor of Arts degree at William Jessup University, a liberal arts college in Rocklin, Calif.
Eventually, Bales wants to attain a master’s degree in psychology and begin a career as a marriage and family therapist.
In addition to fulfilling the responsibilities that come along with being Miss Silver State, and studying for her classes, Bales served as president for the Student Diversity Club at the WNC Douglas campus, and was a mentor for ‘little princesses.’
“As our club’s motto goes, no matter where you come from, how old or walk of life you’re in, you can make a difference,” Bales said. “My friends, Stella and Sergio, were the visionaries, and this 2-year-old club is already leaving a legacy.”
Helping others, which the club did by raising $2,000 at a fundraising dinner called “La Vita e Bella,” gave Bales a sense of contributing to a better society. “It was donated to Suicide Prevention Network and a WNC student scholarship. I am honored to help make a difference in the lives of others,” she said.
Although her schedule was overwhelming at times, Bales said time management and the excitement of planning for her future kept her moving forward.
“This has been an assiduous year, no doubt, but certainly rewarding,” Bales said. “I lay out a game plan day by day to finish the tasks before me. As I ink out my calendar, I remember to enjoy the moment and keep my eyes on the goal — I never want to lose sight of that.”
Bales recommended that people who are uncertain about pursuing a higher education devise a plan to make it happen.
“Jump on it,” she said. “It can be the most rewarding thing you do for yourself and for your family. Financial aid is available if money is an issue, and there are many scholarships you can apply for.
“College doesn’t just expand your opportunities, you learn, you grow and you leap. It’s time to relinquish the rumor that school is no fun — it has been a joy strengthening my abilities and discovering what I truly love to learn.”