Having participated in the caregiving role for an aunt with Down Syndrome, Caroline knows at a very young age the hardship and reward of being a caregiver. Her initiative to show appreciation and reward those caring for loved ones is much needed in today’s world with the movement of mainstreaming and the desire to provide in-home care versus what would historically be known as institutions. Perhaps those experiences have made her what I refer to as an “old soul;” someone who relates, empathizes, and conducts herself like a grown woman embodying the wisdom of age far greater than her own. This could also be the result of a very strong upbringing in a home with intentional parents.
Caroline is the 17-year-old daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Cliff & Sylvia Credle of Raleigh, North Carolina. The youngest of three children, Caroline is a senior at North Carolina School of the Arts pursuing advanced training in ballet while completing her high school diploma. She has two older brothers both enrolled in the Naval Academy. Caroline is an “A” honor roll student, has held two roles in the North Carolina School of the Arts production of “The Nutcracker,” and has received numerous dance scholarships already including a full-tuition scholarship to the American Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program. She aspires to continue dancing post her year of service through a degree in dance and career as a professional ballerina. It goes without saying her empathy for caregivers will be a lifelong engagement for Caroline who has already accomplished tremendous feats with her relevant and necessary social impact initiative.
It was such a privilege to be in Orlando with Caroline as she competed for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Title. I often speak about the importance of carrying with you the dreams of the young women you shared the local and state stages with during your competition. Clearly, Caroline did just that as she was chosen by her Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen class as Miss Congeniality. While being the national titleholder is a tremendous honor, I have to place equal value on being the candidate your local peers selecting for this most prestigious award. It reminds me of a quote that is very suiting to Caroline’s character, “Seek not to be well-known, seek instead to be worth knowing.”