By Connor Beach
A young woman from Huntington who was recently crowned in the regional Miss Liberty pageant took a break last week from preparing for her next pageantry venture in order to help elementary school students thank soldiers and first responders for their service.
Inpreet Rattu, 20, of Huntington Station, returned to Birchwood Intermediate School in Huntington Station last Wednesday and Thursday to give presentations at her former school. She also led a letter writing campaign that saw students thank soldiers stationed overseas, along with firefighters and police officers.
Rattu graduated from Birchwood in 2009; she said it was an amazing experience to return to the school and meet the students.
“Everyone was so welcoming, and everyone was so dedicated to making a difference in the lives of these service members,” Rattu said. “Just seeing their expressions and hearing what they had to say truly inspired me because I know that the service members are going to appreciate the letters that these children wrote.”
Rattu won the regional Miss Liberty pageant in March which qualifies here to compete in the Miss New York pageant on June 28-30 in Buffalo.
As part of the competition, Rattu decided to make “No Service Member Left Behind” her personal platform.
“That entails giving thanks to veterans, current service members in our military as well as the police officers, firefighters and first responders who serve our communities on a day to day basis,” Rattu said.
Rattu said she visited Birchwood because she wanted to find a unique way to thank service members that would get young people involved.
“I feel like often times we are so immersed in our own lives that we forget about those who give us the opportunity to wake up every morning and do the things we do,” Rattu said.
Rattu, now a student at Farmingdale State College who is enrolled in the ROTC program, said she is in the process of compiling letters from the Birchwood students and will be mailing them out later this month.
The Miss New York pageant will be the first time that Rattu has competed at the state level, and, despite what she said will be a field of very talented and accomplished young women, Rattu is determined to show the judges her true self.
She said, “I want to stay true to who I am, and I want the judges to see the real me. I won the title of Miss Liberty for a reason, and that’s because I went out on stage and I showed exactly who I am.”