Sugar Beet staff reporter
Local Garden City resident, and Garden City Community College freshman, Marissa Hernandez is running for Miss Kansas. After graduating from the high school she decided to run for Miss Kansas following her sister’s’ footsteps. “My sister participated in Miss Kansas about four years ago,” Marissa said. “And after how much she told me about how much Miss Kansas taught her I realized I wanted to experience that too.”To get her chance to participate in Miss Kansas, she first had to win the title place of the Garden City Fiesta Pageant, which occurred Friday, Sept. 28. The pageant was organized by the Garden City Community Mexican Fiesta, a nonprofit organization set to promote cultural awareness in the community and to provide financial assistance for students through scholarship programs. One of these such programs was the pageant.
“The pageant itself is a scholarship pageant, not just a beauty pageant,” Angelica Castillo Chapel, president of the Garden City Community Fiesta, said. “As a non-for-profit organization we can go to Miss Kansas, meaning the young lady that wins the title, can pursue more scholarships by going to Miss Kansas, which is a preliminary to Miss America.” The first-place winner of the Garden City pageant wins a scholarship of $1000, while the second-place winner receives $500, and the third-place winner gets $250.
Marissa competed against eight other contestants, winning the scholarship and the chance to run for Miss Kansas. To compete for Miss Kansas, one must be a female Kansas resident, who has graduated high school and is between the ages of 17 and 25. They also have to be single, never married, with a good character as a citizen of the United States.
The pageants serve as a good way to enrich the lives of the contestants and improve the community. “Not only do they build relationships to help them with their social skills and their future education endeavors,” Castillo Chapel said, “but it helps the ladies get involved in their community and give back to their community by becoming volunteers or by mentoring or coaching other young girls.”
Contestants also need to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network and find ways to support the platform they chose to represent. For her platform, Marissa chose to support female empowerment in academia. “I feel as though the education system is lacking in the empowerment of women,” Hernandez said.
Ryan Wessels is a trade and health sophomore. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.