On April 22, 2017, Haleigh Renée Hoskins from Peoria, was crowned Miss Spelman College 1st Attendant. The mission of Miss Spelman and Her Court is to serve as an ambassador to Spelman College. She will represent the college to perspective students and parents, as well as donors, and external constituents. She will also host events on campus throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. The premier event for the Fall semester is entitled, “Pajamas and Pearls”. It is an exclusive event for the first-year class to become well acquainted with the campus queens and the Miss Spelman entity. As 1st Attendant Miss Spelman College, Haleigh plans to bring forth her passion for equality and rights through her platform; Si Se Puede (Yes You Can); The Journey Continues. She states, “I will focus on better understanding bullying and suicide; enabling ways to create a safe space for victims from their oppressors.”
Haleigh’s dream of becoming Miss Spelman College stems from the great love and passion she has for her sisters and she wanted to bring a remnant of light, exuberance and service not only to the Spelman community, but to her Peoria community as well. Her hope is to inspire young women of color to reach for the stars and understand that stepping outside one’s comfort zone can be difficult, but it is well worth the effort. One of her favorite quotes is by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”
Haleigh credits her mother, Linda Hoskins, and her grandparents, Sam and Mable Hoskins as her role models in life. “My story starts with a legacy which came before me. Embracing my history and knowing the hardships of my ancestors has helped me achieve and continually strive to become better. In particular, I most look up to my grandparents, Sam and Mable Hoskins, who migrated from Holmes County, Mississippi to Peoria, Illinois. Like most people of color during that time, they were looking for a better life outside of the segregated south. Upon arriving to Peoria, my grandfather became a construction laborer and my grandmother became an entrepreneur by opening her own business as a local beautician. Although they lacked a formal education, they were determined to pave the way for their three children and now grandchildren. It’s safe to say they are my heroes!” she says.
A firm Christian foundation and achieving a higher education was instilled in her by her mother. “I realized at an early age the importance of a historically black education. Spelman College has taught me that it is our duty to recognize the past, understand the present, and move towards the future. I credit my choice of Spelman College to the continuation of the legacy strong black women in my family have left behind.”
Haleigh believes her Midwestern upbringing also influenced a true sense of self and has helped her realize that, “It is important to know where one has come from to know where one is going” as well as “It takes a village to raise a child.” “And YES, Peoria you have been my village,” she says.
Haleigh has been mentored by many individuals and organizations within the Peoria community such as; State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, TRIO Upward Bound, Delta GEMS, 2002 Baptist Convention Queen for Prince of Peace Church, St. Paul Baptist Church, Tri-County Urban League/TSTM, Kiwanis International, Peoria United Usher Board, Hope Renewed Conference, Central Illinois Chapter of the Links Inc., and Janet’s Just for You.
Haleigh has served with the Atlanta NAACP where she assisted in voter registration in the city of Ferguson. Other memberships and community service include: Secretary of Golden Key International Honor Society, former Secretary of the Spelman College Student Ambassador Program, a member of the National Council of Negro Women, and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. She has conducted undergraduate research in Buenos Aires, Argentina during her study abroad and was also honored with the 2016 Emma Bowen Award for Volunteerism in New York through her internship with Comcast Corporation. Recently, she was inducted into Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.
Haleigh’s focus in college is International Studies and Spanish on a pre-law track. This summer she will pursue her passion for law through the pre-law pipeline program at Chicago- Kent Law School as well as continue her research in civil rights in Barcelona, Spain. Upon graduation, she hopes to continue her education by going on to law school where she will focus on human rights in a civil capacity.