What are your neighbors up to? Fort Mill pageant contestant aims to empower women

Fort Mill SC pageant contestant talks empowering women

Kendall Costanzo, who was named Miss Fort Mill High School 2018, will be representing her community in June for the Miss South Carolina Pageant. Costanzo's is partnering with Fashion & Compassion, a not-for-profit boutique.
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Kendall Costanzo, who was named Miss Fort Mill High School 2018, will be representing her community in June for the Miss South Carolina Pageant. Costanzo's is partnering with Fashion & Compassion, a not-for-profit boutique.

Kendall Costanzo, who was named Miss Fort Mill High School 2018, will be representing her community in June for the Miss South Carolina Pageant, which is part of the Miss America Scholarship Pageant System.

There is no Miss Fort Mill pageant, so Costanzo's high school title allows her to compete for Miss South Carolina, she said.

Costanzo, 18, is using the opportunity to inspire community work that has a global impact. She branded her platform #empowerlocal2global, which shares the importance of women's empowerment. Costanzo said she has spent time with women in different areas of the world through mission work.

In addition to serving as student body president at Fort Mill High, Costanzo volunteered on three international and two domestic missions trips and mentored middle school girls at Forest Hill Church.

She is partnering with Fashion & Compassion, a not-for-profit boutique that works with women locally and internationally to overcome abuse, sex trafficking, addiction, poverty or incarceration, according to the organization. The apprentice artisans learn how to design and sell jewelry, empowering them to start their own small businesses.

"I realized that a lot of the times it's not that they don't put the effort in to accomplish their dreams, it's that they don't have the resources to do so," Costanzo said.

Fashion & Compassion runs a program in Charlotte and Kampala, Uganda, and partners with artisan projects in five other countries, according to the organization.

"It is so much more than just jewelry," Costanzo wrote in a statement. "It is about giving women in need the opportunity to grow and overcome whatever their situation."

Fashion & Compassion jewelry is available at The Crossings on Main Street in downtown Fort Mill and in the Dilworth area in North Carolina.

As part of the Miss South Carolina Pageant, Costanzo is fundraising for the pageant's national platform Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and Fashion & Compassion. She has raised more than $2,000 since March for Fashion & Compassion by selling bracelets made by the artisans.

Costanzo graduated from Fort Mill High School on Saturday. She plans to major in international studies and business administration in the College of Charleston's Honors College this fall. The Miss South Carolina Pageant is June 26-30.

Fort Mill "Seussical" production earns awards

Nation Ford High School's performing arts students received nine Blumey Award nominations for their recent production of “Seussical: The Musical," according to the district. Blumey Awards from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center recognize high school musical theater talent in the greater Charlotte area.

Nation Ford won in the following categories: Best Ensemble/Chorus, Best Set Construction, Best Choreography Execution, Best Overall Direction and Best Musical-Tier 1 (under $10,000 budget).

“Seussical: The Musical" will be broadcast on WTVI at 8 p.m. on May 29 and at 9 p.m. on May 31, June 26 and June 29.

Local students receive scholarships

Eirka McPhail of Rock Hill was awarded a $1,000 North Carolina National Guard Soldiers and Airmen's Fund scholarship from the guard's Association Educational Foundation. McPhail, a student at USC, earned the award by performing well academically and participating in school and community activities.

Kamryn Denae’ Mackins, a senior at York Comprehensive High School, is the 2018 recipient of a scholarship from the Zeta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Alpha Gamma Psi Christian Sorority.

Residents earn business awards, new roles

Amy Rivers Griggs, who works with A. Watts Huckabee & Co Inc. in Rock Hill, was awarded the 2018 S.C. Association of Health Underwriters’ Customer Service Representative of the Year Award, according to A. Watts. Griggs manages the customer service department and "has a passion for servicing our clients and their employees," a statement reads.

Earlier this month, Rock Hill resident Cindy Fowler was named the branch leader and broker-in-charge of the Allen Tate Companies Rock Hill office, a release states. With 13 years of real estate experience, Fowler now oversees branch operations, management and the training of more than 75 Allen Tate agents and staff.

Earlier this year, Keith Wilks, who serves as executive director of student services for the Rock Hill school district, joined York Technical College's Commission for Technical Education. He represents York County, according to York Tech. The commissioners serve a four-year term and are appointed by the governor.

Commissioners evaluate York Tech's mission, ensures the school is financially stable and develops policies to ensure the college remains compliant with federal, state and local laws.

York County organizations awarded $52K in grants, books

The York County Community Foundation awarded more than $50,000 to 16 local nonprofits, including the Boys and Girls Club and Early Learning Partnership of York County, according to the foundation. The foundation is an affiliate of the Charlotte-based Foundation For The Carolinas and has awarded more than $100,000 to local not-for-profit organizations in the past two years.

Domtar Corporation in Fort Mill donated more than 200 new books earlier this month to Riverview Elementary School as part of its partnership with First Book, a nonprofit that distributes books to schools serving students from low-income families, a release states. Each of the Riverview students got to take home up to two books.

“Domtar is so grateful for the wonderful relationship that we’ve developed with the students and teachers of Riverview Elementary School through our book grants, volunteer reading events and conservation projects,” said Domtar Corporate Responsibility Manager Heather Alverson Stowe.

Fort Mill native graduates from U.S. Air Force training

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Markevis L. Duncan, of Fort Mill, has graduated from basic military training in San Antonio, Texas, according to a release. Duncan, a 2012 graduate of Nation Ford High School and the the son of Angela Duncan, also earned four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

This feature appears twice a month in The Herald highlighting people's accomplishments and celebrations from around the region. Email submissions to aharris@heraldonline.com.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082