By James Draper
Gladewater High School’s Hadassah Balcorta was chosen Miss Gregg County Sept. 14 – just one of a number of crowning achievements the past month.
Facing a cacophonous crowd of friends, peers and fans while standing beside fellow contestants including Miss White Oak, Addison Clinkscales, Balcorta’s white satin sash of Miss Gladewater was soon complemented by her new regalia, including a sparkling tiara.
Balcorta was also voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants, cheered on by a contingent of Gladewater High School students, staffers and parents at the Gregg County Fairgrounds.
“Gladewater’s trying to get put on the map for all of the good things,” Gladewater High School Principal Derrick Floyd told trustees days later, presenting Balcorta with a litany of accolades Sept. 18: “She’s a self-starter. She is well-poised. She is a lot of adjectives that I don’t even have time enough to list out.”
In addition to Miss Gladewater and Miss Gregg County, Balcorta – daughter of Sakkinah and Paul Balcorta – was named Gladewater High School’s 2023 Homecoming Queen earlier this month.
The spark for Monday’s honors goes back even further.
“She took the PSAT last year and has gained national honors from this,” Floyd said.
The College Board National Recognition Programs celebrate high school achievers, spotlighting strong academic performance.
According to the program, “The academic honors for rural area, Black, Indigenous, and/or Latino students are an opportunity for students to share their strong academic achievements with colleges and scholarship programs that are seeking to recruit diverse talent.”
With test scores, GPA, demographics and other factors in consideration, “She got recognized in two different categories,” Floyd said, “the National Hispanic Recognition Program… and the National African American Recognition Program for outstanding academic achievement.”
By James Draper