Miss Texas twirls way into students' hearts (Video)
IF YOU WATCH
• WHAT: Miss America 2013
• WHEN: 8-10 p.m., Jan. 12
• WHERE: KAVU-TV 25
Heads turned to examine a svelte, crowned figure awaiting them inside the elementary school gymnasium.
DaNae Couch, 24, stood next to a crimson velvet chair as a horde of Aloe Elementary School Alligators shuffled into the room.
The students' whispers and giggles were silenced as Miss Texas 2012 took the floor.
Before arriving at Aloe, Couch had spoken at Cade Middle School and Victoria West High School earlier that day.
The pageant queen was invited to be this year's speaker by Victoria West's student council, which was hosting an areawide fall convention for student leaders.
Since she was already making the drive to Victoria, Miss Texas insisted on stopping at other schools.
"I thought she did a really good job," said student council president Bethany Garza. "She used her talent, and that was fun."
The former Baylor University twirler put on a baton-swirling show after her anti-bullying talk with the students.
"It felt more like a party than a meeting," Garza said.
"I want to teach them the value of being nice to other people," Couch said. "It can lead to healthy decision-making in the end."
The 24-year-old will compete in the Miss America pageant in January.
Couch started out as Miss Dallas earlier this year before taking the Lone Star crown in early July.
She ran under the platform, 'Hope for Family Recovery: Life Beyond Addiction.'
"I've seen it in my own family," said Couch as she walked back to her car with her grandparents Norma and Dan Nelsen, of Victoria.
Victoria was an important stop in her journey before the national competition in Las Vegas as she visited her grandparents.
"Things that may seem like good decisions, sometimes aren't," Couch said. "Kids need to think about what's going to help them in the long run."