PEMBROKE — There were tears and smiles as singing sensation Brooke Simpson surprised a group of students from the Public Schools of Robeson County.
Students from Townsend, Red Springs, Fairgrove and Orrum middle schools visited the Return from Exile Exhibit at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke through the Indian Education Program. As the students toured the exhibit, Simpson, a star on “The Voice,” walked in to surprise the students.
Simpson is a singer and songwriter from Hollister. She finished in third place of the 13th season on Team Miley Cyrus of NBC’s talent competition.
Simpson talked about her life and her career, and sang “Amazing Grace” for the students. She also took photos with the students and staff.
Brooke was on the UNCP campus for a Women’s Empowerment Summit. The Return from Exile Exhibit focused on removal, return and resilience of Native peoples, but also revolved around the concept of place.
At the exhibit, Linda Oxendine spoke with the students about stereotyping.
“People would say when we left to go to college out of the state, ‘Well you don’t look Indian.’ Some people came to NC and asked where are the teepee’s. We were stereotyped,” Oxendine said.
While at the exhibit, the students were asked to think about their superheroes. The presenters discussed events such as in 1835, when the North Carolina General assembly voted on the Lumbee people’s rights.
Youth Development Specialist Ellen Bullard said, “It’s a miracle we are here today except for the fact our Lumbee people hid in the swamps. That is why we are still here today.”