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Caribbean queen: Tyrone primary teacher Anna Leitch jetting off to Puerto Rico for Miss World

Anna Leitch, a primary teacher and beauty queen, is dreaming of Miss World glory as she jets off to sunny Puerto Rico for the final of the beauty pageant, where she hopes to win the title.

When she won Miss Northern Ireland last summer and made it through the first round of Miss World in the Caribbean at the end of December, she qualified.

 

If a Covid-19 virus spreads among the contestants and staff, the final will not be held until March 16, so the winner will not be crowned until that time.

 

Miss World

It would be a dream come true for Anna to become the first woman from Northern Ireland to win the crown, she told Sunday Life.

 

“It’s very exciting.” I can’t believe I made it into the top 40. That’s a big deal for me, coming from such a small country.

 

There are a lot of girls out there, and they’re all working so hard to get to the top. It’s very competitive, so I feel very proud of myself for getting to this point.

 

“Being Miss World would be great. The first Miss World from Northern Ireland has never lived in our country, and we’ve never had a Miss World from there.

 

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As Miss World, I’d have a chance to meet a lot of people from all over the world and help the other girls and their projects, too.

 

“It would be great if I won. A dream, something I never thought would happen.

 

When Anna, who teaches P1 at Cookstown Primary School, looks at her calendar, she thinks it will be a little less busy than in December.

 

There was a lot of trouble with sports, talent, and “beauty with a purpose” categories last time, she said. “There was so much going on,” she said.

 

“It was interesting to see the girls and their different projects and fields of work.”

 

Every day there was so much to do. Most days, we got up at 5am. It was a lot of work, but everything was fun. As long as you got your beauty sleep, it was fine. You were fine and dandy, though.

 

There will be less of a rush this time. They are going to have a few rehearsals before the final. Then, after the final, they are going to have a charity dance after the final.

 

“It won’t be as hard as last year, but the girls are going to work very hard and give it their all.”

 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can’t wait to go back and see the girls again.”

 

“I made a lot of great long-term friends with some of them.” Seeing Miss Ecuador and Miss Cote d’Ivoire again is on my list of things I want to do. Miss Canada and Miss Iceland are there, as well.

 

Anna took her first bleep test when she was competing in the early rounds of the pageant. She was happy to find out that she was one of the fittest people in the group.

 

She said: “I worked very hard and did well in a lot of different things last time.

 

“I actually really liked the sports parts.” First, I did my first bleep test. It was fun.

 

“Most people did a lot of them at school, but for some reason, I didn’t. This was my first time, and it was hard.”

 

Some of us had to take this bleep test on a tennis court. There were about 25 of us. We were all running from side to side, and it was getting harder and harder to do.

 

“I didn’t think I could finish it.” I kept going, though, and I made it into the top eight on that test. I was very proud of myself for that.

 

“Some of the girls had full make-up on, but I didn’t. I didn’t have anything on.” With my hair up, I just walked in.

 

“I think it’s important to show your natural beauty as well as to always be made up,” says the teacher. “Of course, it was what the girls were comfortable in, which is up to each person.”

 

Anna is also a full-time teacher and a beauty queen. She is very concerned about the mental health of her young students.

 

Helping to judge a poetry contest for kids in Northern Ireland called “Express Yourself,” which is run by the mental health group Aware NI.

 

Anna: “As a role model, I want to help the kids I teach be more resilient and positive, and I want to help them find ways to deal with any anxieties they might have.”

 

What we do with kids is help them understand their thoughts and feelings and what’s going on in their heads.

 

In the classroom, the poetry contest is great because it starts a lot of talks about mental health

 

The kids are so happy to be able to talk about it as well. What we’ve done in the last few weeks is do that.

 

There is a competition that I’m an ambassador for. I’ll be able to pick the top three poems.

 

It will be hard because there are about 105 schools from across Northern Ireland that are taking part.

 

“I don’t know how I’m going to narrow it down.”

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