Kerri Arnold reflects on time as Miss Tennessee Volunteer

JACKSON, Tenn. — Miss Tennessee Volunteer Kerri Arnold is getting ready to hand over her crown this weekend to the next Miss Tennessee Volunteer.

Arnold was crowned in 2019, holding the title longer than any Miss Tennessee Volunteer because the organization did not hold a pageant last year due to COVID-19.

On Saturday, she’ll crown one of the 36 women competing this week for the title.

“This experience has been something that has been hard for me to put into words this week. This has always been a dream of mine,” Arnold said.

She says even during such a challenging year, she was able to get a lot accomplished.

“COVID put a little bump in the road, but up through traveling on March 10, 2020, I was able to visit nearly 40,000 school children across our state,” Arnold said.

She says she’s known this is who she wanted to be since she was a child, when she met a former titleholder.

“Blaire Pancake came to my school, so it was always a dream that I didn’t know was attainable for me, but I worked really, really hard, and it was such an honor to represent, not only the state of Tennessee, but to represent my hometown,” Arnold said.

She says the best part of her two years was interacting with the children she visited and hearing what they had to say, but she says there were challenges along the way as well.

“One of the biggest challenges I faced was getting used to my new schedule. Sometimes I would go from Nashville to Memphis, from Memphis to East Tennessee, so there was a lot of traveling, but it was always fun and it was so exciting to go to new schools each and every day,” Arnold said.

She has a piece of advice for the next titleholder who will be crowned Saturday night.

“Enjoy each and every minute of it, and to just look for those who need you the most. Each school visit was different, each child was different, and you could find those ones that really needed a little extra hug or an extra smile, so to go out and seek those each day,” Arnold said.

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