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Scholarship pageant promotes skills, goals

Nov. 3, 2010

Courtesy Photo
Del Rio junior Stephany Cavazos, the 2009 Miss Phi I A Scholarship Pageant winner, offered encouraging words to the 2010 contestants before handing down her title and crown.

By Nydia Perez

Intellect, talent, poise, beauty and diversity will be celebrated this weekend at an annual scholarship pageant.

The Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity will host its 10th Annual Miss Phi I A Scholarship Pageant, where more than $5,000 will be given in scholarships.

The pageant will highlight beauty, but its main mission will be to encourage young women academically and help them enhance their interpersonal skills.

Eagle Pass senior Oscar Garcia, vice president of the fraternity, said a theme is chosen each year to bring forth the pageant's values.

"Magical moments" was the theme chosen this year to represent how contestants are inspired to continue their education and goals and discover who they want to be. This inspiration comes in many forms, including role models, literature and experience. All forms inspire the contestants to do better for themselves and the community, Garcia said.

The 2009 crown and title went to Del Rio junior Stephany Cavazos. Cavazos said she had extensive pageant experience prior to competing in the Phi Iota Alpha Scholarship Pageant.

"I've done pageants in the past; my mom had me competing in pageants since I was 4" Cavazos said.

Cavazos also said that unlike previous pageants she has been part of, which have focused more on the contestant's physical attributes, this pageant was geared toward the contestants' skills, specifically the interview and public speaking portions of the competition.

Dallas junior Chris Perez, who is pageant co-chair along with Houston junior Nicolas Mendoza, said the contestants prepare thoroughly for the contest.

"Most people don't realize the hard work that goes into pageants. The ladies have been coming to practice twice a week for two -hour-long practices. They prepare for the interviews, the question and answer, the speech portion and have very extensive dance practices," Perez said.

Perez also said that it was primarily about having a fun experience and seeing the women all come together as winners in the end.

Plano senior Noori Mulji, a contestant in this year's pageant, said she decided to participate because she wanted to try something new.

"This is my first time ever doing a pageant. I just wanted to try something different and fun. It's been great just getting to meet new people," Mulji said.

Houston sophomore Katherine Regaldo, who is also a contestant, said she joined the competition because it was a good way to refine her skills.

"It's a good event to be part of because you learn how to carry and present yourself. I'm not the most coordinated person in the world; this is a really good way for me to practice those skills," Regaldo said.

Cavazos, who will be serving as host and passing down her crown and title, said the most important thing for the contestants was to be confident and excited about being there.

"You're a winner just by being up on that stage because you signed up to be part of the pageant and committed yourself to practicing hard and preparing yourself for that moment. Most of all, be confident as you walk across the stage and speak in front of Waco Hall answering question that are asked at random. Remember, all in all, if pageants were as easy as people like to think they are, then more girls would be take part in them. You have a lot to be proud of when you strut your walks ... just that, all together, makes you an all-around winner," Cavazos said.

The scholarship pageant will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in Waco Hall. Admission is free.