John Muir Early College Magnet High School Junior Lauren Gray was recently crowned Miss Black Pasadena 2023.
By News Desk
As newly crowned Miss Black Pasadena, Lauren Gray says she feels grateful for what she learned in the process. “It was just very fulfilling. I feel like I put a lot into the program and just to be recognized was amazing. It was nice to know that I’m going to represent my community and represent Pasadena.”
“Our program is really about investing in the girls and taking time to nurture their social and emotional health,” said Executive Director Tamieko Foster, who founded Miss Black Pasadena in 2018. “What I always try to remind people is that this is not a beauty pageant. This is a mentor and scholarship program, so zero percent of our program is focused on looks or outward appearance at all. We really try to focus on the inside and beautify that part.”
With a 4.4 GPA, Lauren admits she’s an overachieving student who sometimes tries to do too much. She is dually enrolled in John Muir and Pasadena City College (PCC) is on track to earn two Associate Arts degrees in addition to a high school diploma when she graduates next year.
John Muir students can take college-level courses during the school day at the PCC building located on their campus.
As a Mandarin Chinese speaker, Lauren chose to volunteer last summer assisting teachers at her alma mater, Field Elementary School. Lauren advocates for equity across the district as a member of the PUSD Student Think Tank. She is also a city ambassador volunteer at community events.
However, after going through the process of earning competition points by attending educational workshops, meeting empowerment experts, and by simply talking to her fellow contestants, Lauren realized how important it is to take care of her own wellbeing. She decided to carve out time to relax and cut back on her course load.
“That was such a relief and really helped me do better in my other classes because I didn’t have the stress. That’s just one example of how Miss Black Pasadena is helping me academically,” Lauren explained.
Lauren’s dad, Lawton Gray III, Ed.D., is Principal of John Muir High School Early College Magnet. Dr. Gray says he and his wife are extremely proud of their daughter and impressed with the Miss Black Pasadena program because it benefits all the young women who participate. “It really is an outlet for them to be able to find ways that they can make their lives better and their families’ lives better and their friends’ lives better. It’s something they can use going forward,” Dr. Gray noted.
Lauren hopes to work in a legal career and become an agent of change on issues that impact marginalized communities.
> Find a KLRN Pasadena video on YouTube at Miss Black Pasadena 2023, Lauren Gray.
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