More than two years later, Wake student still hasn't received $2,500 pageant prize
Posted January 21, 2015
Updated January 22, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County student who was crowned Miss Black USA Talented Teen in 2012 says she has yet to receive her $2,500 scholarship from the pageant, so she contacted 5 On Your Side for help.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Naya Coard, who has been waiting on the money so she can pay her tuition bill.
“I currently have a hold on my account, and I’m applying for internships and I’m applying for different scholarships, and they ask me for my unofficial transcript," she added. "And the fact that I have a hold on my account doesn’t allow me to get my unofficial transcript from the school or online.”
Naya’s mother, Stephanie Irby Coard, says she has been round and round with pageant officials and has their promises of payment detailed in email after email.
"I feel as if they're just waiting for me to forget about this or somehow just go away, but I'm not, because it's not right,” she said. “We have documentation saying that she is going to get it. We have documentation showing that it was sent but never received. We have documentation saying it will be re-issued. We have dates. We have deadlines. They just never get met.”
Online, the Miss Black USA pageant touts the more than $300,000 in scholarships awarded.
WRAL’s 5 On Your Side reached out to several people involved with the pageant, including founder Karen Arrington, through phone calls, emails and messages on Twitter and Facebook. The organizer for the state pageant, Anthony Vann, was also contacted. Vann is also listed as an executive producer and a director of development for the national pageant.
After Vann contacted the national organization, 5 On Your Side heard from Miss Black USA spokeswoman Renee Stallworth.
Stallworth mentioned "unusual delays" related to management changes and said the scholarship would be sent "within the next several weeks."
When questioned why it would still take weeks, Stallworth revised the timeline to "7 to 10 days if not sooner.”
For Naya, while the crown, sash and trophy are all nice, “it’s not a scholarship,” she said. “I’d much rather have the $2,500, the scholarship money.”
WRAL’s 5 On Your Side checked with the winner of last August's pageant, who said she did receive her scholarship money. Naya should have hers by the end of the week, and 5 On Your Side will keep everyone posted.