Smithfield Teen to Represent RI in National Pageant

Smithfield Teen to Represent RI in National Pageant

Emily McDonough is a senior at Smithfield High School and has a bright future ahead of her. Every opportunity she gets to give back to her community, she does all she can. She also hopes to inspire her fellow classmates to do the same through her platform called BeInvolvedRI, which you can find on Instagram. The platform is one way to connect with other teens and the youth to get involved with charities and organizations.

Emily is someone who has always been willing to get involved and lend a helping hand. She has been volunteering her time for a variety of causes going back to the age of eight. Her passion for helping came about from taking part in various Fidelity Cares initiatives with her mom, who is a Fidelity Investments employee.

Entering so-called beauty contests was not something that Emily was interested in, but when she heard about the competition for the Miss Rhode Island Teen Volunteer pageant, she was intrigued because the focus was on social service.

This pageant may be new, beginning only a couple of years ago, but it has grown quickly in popularity, with all states competing and sending their state pageant winners to a national competition in March 2024.

“It’s not merely a beauty pageant, it’s a volunteer and scholarship opportunity,” Emily says.

To apply, there had to be some volunteer work completed, which Emily had covered. She has logged many hours volunteering at organizations that include Saint Jude Leadership Society, where she helps raise money and awareness for the amazing work they do for kids and the families who are battling childhood cancer together. Emily is also actively involved with Adopt-A-Family Woonsocket, and has helped with school drives, filling backpacks with essential items for the homeless and children in need.

There are several other local nonprofits that Emily wants to find time for soon, and volunteering for The Izzy Foundation and the Sojourner House are two on the top of her list.

Emily was crowned Miss Rhode Island Teen Volunteer last November in a ceremony at the Bishop McVinney School auditorium in Providence. The competition with several other pageant hopefuls involved highlighting various talents, including a personal interview, a talent showcase, as well as fitness/wellness wear and evening gown wear events. For the talent showcase, she recited a poem which she wrote, called Reflection.

She received a cash scholarship for college and other prizes.

“Even more exciting,” Emily says, “is that I get to go across the state and volunteer with many different nonprofit organizations and give my time to help them during my reign as a title holder, which is one year.”

She also gets to represent our state in the national pageant, which is being held in Jackson, Tennessee March 5-9.

“It’s really exciting,” Emily says. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Emily realizes that some people may not consider pageants like these to be worthy of pursuit by young women, but there is a lot of that goes into the process and choosing a girl from each state, all of whom are worthy and have done so much for their communities.

“What I do by volunteering my time and effort, I do for no other reason than to help people,” Emily says. “Being recognized as Miss Rhode Island Teen Volunteer is something that I am proud of, and I am honored to represent Rhode Island at the national pageant in Tennessee.”

Emily is thankful for everyone who has supported her, especially her family. She is grateful for the work done by all the people at Miss Teen Volunteer, particularly Vanessa Pereira, the organization’s Executive Director responsible for setting up the Miss Teen Volunteer system in Rhode Island.

After graduating from Smithfield High School later this year, Emily plans to attend college and major in Elementary Education.

If anyone is interested in learning more about volunteer work, feel free to reach out to Emily at

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