RIC grad wins Miss Rhode Island pageant

Kelsey Fournier '12 reacts as she is crowned Miss Rhode Island 2012 on May 26 at Rhode Island College.

Kelsey Fournier of Pawtucket, who graduated from Rhode Island College in May, was crowned Miss Rhode Island 2012 during the 90th anniversary Miss Rhode Island Scholarship Program, held May 26 in the Auditorium in Roberts Hall at RIC.

The former Patriots cheerleader and first-time pageant competitor said of winning the title, “I was very shocked.”

“I always wanted to do Miss Rhode Island when I was little,” Fournier added, but her mother told her to wait until she was older and had more life experience. “I’m glad I followed her advice,” she said. “I felt a lot more comfortable now than I would have before.”

Fournier competed against 15 other contestants in the scholarship pageant, performing a jazz dance to Whitney Houston’s “Queen of the Night” as her talent.

During her upcoming year of service, Fournier will be concentrating on the issue of childhood obesity.

“I will be teaching children and adults the benefits of eating right and staying active,” Fournier said. “My classes in health education and public speaking at Rhode Island College were essential to my success.”

Fournier, 23, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in health education, concentrating in community health. She hopes to become active in local health education groups and mentioned that, in particular, she would like to become involved with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative aimed at improving children’s health.

Betty Rauhe, chair of RIC’s health and physical education department, described Fournier as a “terrific young lady,” and said that she and her colleagues are proud of her.

Fournier has several local appearances scheduled already as Miss Rhode Island, including a cancer-fighting Relay for Life event in Cumberland on June 15 and the Quonset Air Show June 16-17.

She takes her responsibilities as a role model quite seriously. “When you’re representing an organization,” she said, “you really have to hold yourself to a higher standard.”

It has been quite a year for Fournier. She ended her three-year stint as a New England Patriots cheerleader in February at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, graduated from RIC, became Miss Rhode Island and is now preparing for the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas on Jan. 12, 2013.

Buoyed by the success of Olivia Culpo of Cranston, crowned Miss USA on June 3, Fournier said she is glad to see Rhode Island receive the long-overdue recognition it deserves in the arena of scholarship pageants and she hopes for the same success in January. “I’m crossing my fingers,” she said.

Fournier is currently employed as a fitness instructor at Mind Body Barre in Rehoboth, Mass. She is the daughter of Ron and Heather Fournier. Her mother is a RIC graduate who worked for the Pawtucket school department as an ESL teacher for many years.