By ANGYE MORRISON
For Anita Cerpovicz, life began in her native Poland with no family but her siblings. All grown up now and a college student, she thought she wanted to be a veterinarian. She also thought she’d never be in a beauty pageant.
But things change — and very often, for the better.
A rising senior at East Georgia State College, Cerpovicz is the reigning Miss EGSC, having been crowned earlier this year at the Luck F. Gambrell Center Auditorium on the Swainsboro campus. She lives in Statesboro with her parents, Paul Cerpovicz, who teaches at EGSC’s Swainsboro campus, and Joelle Romanchik-Cerpovicz, who teaches at Georgia Southern. Together with her siblings, who are now 19 (sister) and 16 (brother), the family has called Statesboro home since the children were adopted, when Anita Cerpovicz was 4 years old.
Cerpovicz says that choosing East Georgia for her college education was a no-brainer for her.
“I love East Georgia. My dad has taught there, so I’ve been on campus since I was like, 4 years old. All the teachers know me. It’s like a second home to me,” she said.
Cerpovicz says her high school classmates questioned her decision, saying that she should consider a larger school. But she held firm.
“They said, ‘Why are you going to such a small school? You’re way too smart for that,’” she recalls them saying, adding that the education she and other students receive at EGSC is cost effective and “the same quality education as a much larger school.”
“You don’t have to go to this big, giant university, and pay all this crazy tuition to get the exact same education, if not better, at a small campus,” she said.
She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology, having originally thought she wanted to be a veterinarian. But after her first year of study, she found that her temperament just wasn’t suited for that field. She decided instead to pursue a career as a math teacher, so she plans to go on to obtain her master’s degree in mathematics. She wants to teach high school or college students.
“I have always loved math, ever since I was little. I was always really good at math; it always made sense to me. It was something I could relate to, I guess, because you could always use it,” she said.
Cerpovicz is attending EGSC on a full scholarship, and as part of that, she is required to give back through community service. She has tutored elementary school students since high school, and continues to do so today. Although she enjoys her time with them, she says it has solidified for her that her teaching career will be spent teaching older students.
“It’s a bit outside of my comfort zone,” she says of teaching younger children.
But even so, she says she has enjoyed seeing the light bulb com on for students when they “get it,” and she feels that the experiences she’s had doing so have made her a more well-rounded person. She also points out the importance of helping younger children gain the foundational skills they need in mathematics to succeed later on in their education and in life.
This is why Cerpovicz, as Miss EGSC, chose education as her platform. “Running into Mathematics” is what she calls her presentation for elementary students, which