Wednesday night is the night Olivia Culpo will find out if she is the next Miss Universe. Her friends and family from Cranston are already in Las Vegas waiting to cheer her on, but there is also a crowd of fans in Rhode Island rooting for their hometown girl.
Final exams are well underway at Bay View Academy, but students will be taking a study break to watch Culpo, a graduate, compete. Her picture is plastered on classroom doors, and featured in the school magazine. Culpo has come back to give speeches since winning the Miss USA crown, and she is a real role model to the girls at Bay View.
"It's kind of a hero," Bay View President Vittoria Pacifico-DeBenedictis said. "Someone to look up to, and to have that opportunity to do that to someone who attended the same academy, it's wow."
Bay View sent out a letter to parents reminding them to tune in Wednesday night, but someone who needs no reminder is Claire Sacharko. She has lived across the street from the Culpos for 18 years.
"I was like she won! She won! We were all watching," Sacharko said. "It takes a lot of stamina and courage I think to stand up in front of all of those people and present yourself, and she did so well."
Everyone is hoping she does well enough to be crowned Miss Universe. Culpo says she just wants to make Rhode Island proud.
"I'm just hoping I can do as well as I can, and represent not only the nation but also Rhode Island," Culpo said.
The Miss Universe Pageant begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.