Miss Alaska 2017, Angelina Klapperich, visited schools in the Bristol Bay area this week to talk about the importance of compassion.
Angelina Klapperich won the Miss Alaska pageant in June 2017. Now in her last months as Miss Alaska, she is traveling around the state, visiting Juneau, Nome, Seward, and Homer. On Tuesday, she came to Dillingham to talk to students about her platform issue: compassion.
“In high school, I did lose a friend to suicide, and that’s what set me on the path of really wanting to help people feel valued and connected,” she said. “I just think that everyone has their own unique, personal battle, and you may never fully know what people are going through. And I think that people need to be reminded that everyone is struggling with something.”
Originally from Wasilla, Klapperich received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. This background factored into her issue focus as Miss Alaska; a choice which some friends questioned at first.
“Even my mom said, ‘Are you sure you want to choose compassion? It’s so broad.’ Maybe they thought it was almost wishy-washy,” Klapperich said. “But I think it’s extremely powerful and super concrete. Compassion means to enter someone’s point of view, and see things from another person’s perspective. There are a lot of studies and evidence behind compassion itself.”
While compassion is not controversial in the abstract, Klapperich says it is related to stigmatized subjects.
“We all have mental health problems to some extent, I feel like. And so just having compassion for people is realizing that we all struggle, reducing the stigma around mental illness or addiction, or just not being afraid to reach out to people with different problems,” she said.
Klapperich will crown the next Miss Alaska in June. Afterward, she plans to look for a job in mental health counseling.
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