“America’s Next Top Model” stopped at the Granville high school on Thursday to give a talk to an enthusiastic group of students. Laura James, who graduated from Cambridge high school, stressed to students the importance of education and following one’s dreams.
James said she had recently given a speech at Cambridge and received a good response.
“I wanted to show kids from a small town that you can still do something big,” James said. “I also wanted to tell them how important education is in today’s society.”
James recently graduated from Paul Smith’s College in Brighton with a hotel, resort and tourism major and a minor in business. Though she knew she wanted to pursue a career in modeling, James said she wanted to get an education first.
She also spoke about another topic which is prevalent today in schools across the nation — bullying. She specifically stressed the sometimes fatal dangers of cyberbullying, which is a growing epidemic, and showed a video on the subject.
As a contestant on a reality television show, James has been subject to a lot of bullying on various social networks. She gave examples of this, with comments calling her everything from fat to too thin to evil, and encouraged students to disregard those who treat them badly.
“I guarantee you will have people telling you that you can’t or that you are nothing. Put your blinders up and ignore them. If someone says you can’t, turn around and say ‘watch me’,” James said.
At the end of her talk, James opened the floor for questions, and students asked her about her modeling career and asked if they could pose for photographs with her.