Miss USA of Cranston walked into the function room at the wearing a flowing black dress with diagonally-running white stripes and said hello to the boys and girls arrayed in a circle on the floor.
"I'm so excited to read The Giving Tree to You," she said.
She read the story by Shel Silverstein, which tells the tale of a boy whose tree provides him everything he needs. It shares with him a swing to ride, apples to eat and shade to keep cool. As the boy gets older, the tree keeps providing until it finally makes the ultimate sacrifice and gives up its life and is felled with an ax. The boy, now a young man, builds a boat to sail away.
The man comes back later, much older, needing a place to rest. Now a stump, the tree is able to give one last gift — a good place to sit and relax.
After reading the story, Culpo asked all the children to make sure to share with others. The moral of the story is that it's good to give to others, she said.
"Do you share with someone?" Culpo asked one girl.
"I share food with my dog," she said.
Another girl raised her hand.
"I had a dog," she began. "A Golden Retriever. And he died."
"Oh," Culpo said. "I'm sure you'll get another one soon."