Miss Hawai’i 2000 and Miss America 2001 brings aloha to St. Anthony of Padua
Los Angeles, Calif. – The spirit of aloha is alive and thriving in Southern California. You may know her as co-host with her sisters on Living Local with the Baraquios, but in Gardena, California, students at St. Anthony of Padua call her Mrs. Grey; teacher and vice-principal. On the eve of celebrating its 75th Anniversary, the top-rated school will have something extra to celebrate – the Hawaiian-born Angela Baraquio Grey will become the new principal when current principal Micah Sumner leaves to follow a new path.
While serving as Miss America in 2001, Grey’s platform was “Character in the Classroom: Teaching Values, Valuing Teachers,” a message she has continued to promote throughout her teaching career. A magna cum laude graduate of Moanalua High School and alumna of University of Hawai’i at Manoa, the beauty queen has never slowed down when it comes to education. After marrying childhood sweetheart Tinifuloa Grey (nick named “Tini” throughout his years at Maryknoll and Holy Family Schools in Hawai’i and when he performed with the popular singing group Reign) and moving to California, Grey served as a Catholic educator at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach. She worked with Sumner at Our Lady Queen of Angels before he became principal at St. Anthony of Padua. When he encouraged her to apply at St. Anthony of Padua last April, she said, “… It was like coming home.” In fact, the school reminds her of the Catholic school she attended when she was a little girl growing up in Hawai’i.
Miss America-turned-teacher is not only the vice-principal at St. Anthony of Padua, she is a wife, mother of four, and daughter to parents who emigrated from the Philippines to Hawai’i. This year marks an extraordinary one for Grey – in addition to this appointment, she recently became a published author. Her book, Amazing Win, Amazing Loss, Miss America Living Happily, Even After, chronicles her life as a child with nine siblings and her rise from a local teacher in Hawai’i, challenging and rising above adversity to become a national figure and an American icon. Talk about finding the American dream: at 24, she took a chance at the title of Miss America and won, making history as the first teacher and first Asian American to hold the title.
The role of principal will be a hard act to follow, as Sumner is a respected and endearing figurehead at the school. He heads off to Philadelphia with his wife and five children after being commissioned by Pope Francis to become a mission family. If the school was seeking a sign of who could replace Sumner, they got it; Angela’s name means “messenger” and indeed, throughout her life, she has been sharing God’s message in everything she does. Even after being crowned Miss America she insisted the organization rearrange her very first Sunday TV interview for Good Morning, America so she could attend Mass. Every Sunday after that was reserved for faithful devotion before meeting her obligations of appearances that amounted to traveling 20,000 miles per month.
Ironically, her meaningful name followed her. After being crowned Miss America, it was the St. Anthony Messenger that interviewed her, the first Catholic publication to do so. So what message will she bring to the future of St. Anthony of Padua? “My vision is to extend what the current administration has focused on: Faith, Stewardship, and Excellence” said Grey. “We are a school that prepares our students for learning in the twenty-first century. Our technology surpasses other schools in the area, and our tuition remains more affordable than that of neighboring private schools.”
Grey has proven she has what it takes to continue the path for innovation. As vice-principal she authored a grant that successfully secured a $20,000 technology award, which allowed the school to purchase MacBook Airs for all classroom teachers. Currently, there are iPads in all third through eighth-grade classrooms, Wi-Fi school-wide, a learning lab, top-of-the-line throw projectors, and Apple TVs in every classroom. But she also thinks beyond technology. Her experience with parochial schools has taught her that teaching values in school is entirely possible. She says. “Character education is ingrained in Catholic schools. We’re not talking about it-we’re modeling it.”
St. Anthony of Padua’s 75th Diamond Anniversary Reunion Celebration Gala befits the soon-to-be principal’s mantra with the theme, “Faith, Family & Friends: Coming Home” to be held June 13 at Doubletree by Hilton in Torrance. Like the glass slipper in a fairytale that transformed an ordinary girl into a princess, in this case, the shoe not only fits, but Grey will be up and running – the messenger that she is – ready to enhance the school’s legacy and history of faith-based education.
For more information about Angela, visit her website at www.angelaperezbaraquio.com
Click here to view Gardena Valley News article, New Principal Brings A Lesson In Beauty.
Source: Miss America Organization
The Miss America Organization congratulates Miss America 2001 Angela Baraquio Grey on her appointment as Principal of Mainland School