South Carolina State royalty: Damien Smith, Teonna Breland to be crowned at coronation

Mister and Miss SC State: Damien Smith and Teonna Breland

On Thursday, November 8 at 6 p.m., the Coronation Ceremony for Teonna Breland, 81st Miss South Carolina State University, and Damien Smith, 5th Mister South Carolina State University, will be held in the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. Inspired by 1961 film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the theme for this year’s ceremony is “A Celebration of Timeless Elegance.”

Breland is a senior fashion merchandising major from Charleston, South Carolina. She serves on campus as a Student Orientation Leader and a member of the Honors College and Fashion Merchandising Association. She has served in local schools, reading books to small children and encouraging book donations from fellow SC State classmates. She previously served as Miss Freshman, Miss Sophomore, Miss Black and Gold and was named a Presidential Scholar throughout her tenure at SC State.

Breland’s platform as Miss SC State is called, “The Revival: Restoring the Culture,” which embodies supporting and empowering her peers mentally, academically and socially.

“When preparing to run for Miss South Carolina State, I would pray and ask God to reveal to me what he wanted my platform to be, and [I asked him to] use me to be a light to his kingdom,” she said.

“The title of my platform was revealed to me in a dream- at that moment I knew that this wasn’t about me, but it was about how God was going to use me to revive the campus. I want to help by building others up and spreading love, and I encourage everyone to do the same,” Breland continued.

She plans to help other students achieve academic success through her program, Students Studying Socially (SSS). The program is designed to place students in a social setting so that they can learn together and gather ideas from each other. She believes this method of studying will help increase exam scores. Through her Power of a Woman program (POW), she invites female students to her dorm suite on the last Friday of each month to promote positivity, build support groups and create events throughout her reign to ignite empowerment.

During the summer, Breland worked as an intern with Serà Fine Silk, an Italian menswear company, in Milan, Italy. While interning, she wrote for the company’s blog and helped with marketing. She said it was a great, cultural and humbling experience. She also traveled to Spain and several other cities in Italy.

Breland hopes to leave her mark at SC State and on the world, as a supportive person. She said despite her downfalls in high school, she is excelling academically in college and is growing as a person. She hopes to inspire others by letting them know that every day presents an opportunity to reinvent themselves, change their circumstances and pay it forward. Breland strongly believes that serving as Miss SC State is not about her, but about helping others.

After graduating, she plans to earn a master’s degree, work in the fashion industry and build a philanthropic platform. Her greatest inspirations in life are her mother, Katesha Breland, and sister, Tyler Breland, who encourage her to always give her best and stay focused.

Blazing the trail of a relatively new SC State tradition, as the 5th Mister SC State, Smith is a senior mechanical engineering technology major from Hopkins, South Carolina. He is a member of the U. S. Army ROTC, Honors College, 101 Black Men of SC State Society, National Society of Black Engineers and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. He has also held informational forums on campus and participated in campus clean-ups.

Entitled, “Dedication Reloaded 1896,” his platform focuses on growing SC State’s Bulldog Pride by creating more community service activities for students. He believes that if students participate in impactful activities together, they will build strong relationships with each other and the university. He also believes that student service will build lasting relationships with the community, resulting in an enduring positive image for the university.

Smith said that others saw him as a leader and pushed him to run for Mister SC State, but he always knew he wanted to be an agent for change. He expressed gratitude for those who believe in him and aims to give back by uplifting those around him. He plans to hold more educational forums on campus and help male students learn how to dress and interact professionally, obtain affordable business attire and have their clothes tailored.

Smith recently received a Ronald E. McNair scholarship through his fraternity. Additionally, he completed an internship with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, where he learned how to work with people from different backgrounds. He believes that his Honors College classes prepared him for diverse environments and showed him how to embrace differences among others.

Although adjusting to college life was difficult for him initially, and being from a small town presented its challenges, Smith learned how to balance his life by prioritizing. He said that his fear of failure is what drives him.

“I can’t go back home and tell my parents and family that I’ve failed. They’ve instilled so much in me, and I have to succeed,” he said.

“Being Mister SC State is a part of my journey now, and I take my role seriously. It’s about perseverance, sacrifice, uplifting and serving. I just want to be a person that no one is afraid to talk to- a servant leader,” he continued.

He plans to serve in the U.S. Army on active duty for 8 to 10 years, then join the National Guard. After serving in the military, he aspires to work in the automotive industry.

The Coronation Ceremony will also introduce Mister and Miss SC State’s Royal Court, and serve as an induction ceremony for Student Government leaders and Campus Activities Board officers.

Royal Court

Miss Freshman, Ashley Sweeney and Mister Freshman, Anthony Martin
Miss Sophomore, Mikayla Jenkins and Mister Sophomore, Jalen Brown
Miss Junior, Jaylen Ford and Mister Junior, Demun Allen
Miss Senior, Ashley Hendricks and Mister Senior, Gerrod Maddox
Student Government Association
President, DeAndre’ Hurley
Vice President, Daniel Benjamin
Business Manager, Herbert E. Smith
Corresponding Secretary, Darius Chatman
Recording Secretary, Radcliffe Narinesingh
Senator-at-Large, Ashley Russell

Campus Activities Board

President, Eboni Douglas
Vice President, Julie Sainyo
Business Manager, Deandre Sellers
Secretary, Kierra Simmons
Parliamentarian, Sean Koger

For more information about Coronation, contact Davion Petty at (803) 516-4599 or [email protected] Contact the Office of Student Life and Leadership at (803) 536-4826.

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