Adding to the list of notable alumni of The Winchendon School, Yamuna Turco graduated only a few short years ago and has since become crowned Miss Vermont of 2023. Her remarkable journey to where she is today was shaped by her experiences here at The Winchendon School, and her determination to follow her passions. Being crowned the title of Miss Vermont is no easy feat, and her road to success was a difficult one. The pageant process requires many interviews, showcases of talent, exceptional eligibility requirements, and not to mention lots of competition. Turco’s hard work and outstanding dedication have paid off, and she more than deserves the title of Miss Vermont.
Her time at The Winchendon School shaped and inspired her to become who she is today, helping to further her education while giving her an immersive experience and uplifting and supportive community. While at Winchendon, Turco said she discovered new ways of thinking, learning to question the “why” in everything. This experience she gained helped form who she was as a person, and opened her up to even more new opportunities. Regarding how she felt Winchendon impacted her as an individual, Turco stated “Being an outgoing individual, Winchendon allowed me to develop that further and encouraged the connections that I formed. I was more able to put myself out there, and I am willing to try new things for the sake of experience and growth.” The environment Turco was offered at Winchendon helped form fundamental pillars of who she was as an individual, and she additionally gained valuable traits that stuck with her. Having this new attitude towards experiences helped her ultimately decide to run for Miss Vermont.
When learning that the Miss America organization emphasized community service and scholarship, she decided to pursue her dream. The Winchendon School helped her prepare for this vital part of her role, and she recognized this as she said “Knowing how to foster community connections is the most important thing I do as Miss Vermont, and that was taught to me at Winch. Another important skill that was further developed at Winch was respect in disagreement. In my role as Miss Vermont, I meet and encounter people who may be vastly different from me, who have differing lives and differing opinions. I make a point to enter every conversation with respect, and the knowledge that I can learn something.” These skills that she was encouraged to develop at Winchendon truly helped her to become successful, especially in terms of being crowned Miss Vermont or even possibly competing for Miss America.
The process of being crowned Miss Vermont (or any state) involves eligibility checks, local competitions leading to the state level, application and registration, interviews, talent showcases, and much more. Being crowned Miss Vermont is much more than a title, as it also represents her impact on her community and the effort put into helping those around her. Service projects, which are required for the eligibility of becoming Miss Vermont, are one of the most important aspects of retaining the title. Turco, when talking about her project, stated: “My service initiative is One Book, One Child, which focuses on increasing access to diverse books and stories and fostering a love of reading that lasts a lifetime. I go to events and talk about reading, literacy, and how we can encourage students to find the books they love. I have open conversations with people about how we can engage students in literacy and learning, and how we can increase access to reading materials. I then make a donation to the school, library, or community center.” This impact she has on her community is truly remarkable, and it shows through her passion for helping others.
In her exceptional journey from The Winchendon School to Miss Vermont, Yamuna Turco’s achievements show the true impact of The Winchendon School on aspiring students. Turco was able to excel and reach all of her goals with the skills she further developed during her time at Winchendon. Her title of Miss Vermont is a reflection of not only her talents but also her commitment to her community and scholarship, which were values instilled in her high school years.
Written by Eliza Hackler ’25