By: Jyllian Roach, Editor-In-Chief | Photo By: Scott M. Roberts, Art Director
Communications major Stephanie Chavez has won the title of Miss Albuquerque 2013.
Chavez won the title on Feb. 9 after previously winning the titles of Miss Doña Ana County 2012 and Miss Albuquerque 2012, she said.
“It feels great. It’s a little surreal, just getting used to the title, but I’m just staying in school and keeping things as normal as possible,” she said.
Chavez’s goal as Miss Albuquerque is to focus on child literacy because reading was something she struggled with as a child, she said.
To help children who struggle with literacy, Chavez visits Albuquerque-area schools and shares her story and how practicing gave her a love of reading.
“I just teach them that reading can be fun, it’s not just for school,” she said.
She has worked mostly with preschool and elementary school children because she understands the impact illiteracy can have on a student, she said.
Students who struggle with reading are often looked upon as bad students and do not always get the support they need, she said.
The next step in her pageant career is the Miss New Mexico competition on June 23, she said.
If Chavez wins the title, she said she will be taking her literacy project statewide so that she can help as many children as possible.
Should Chavez win Miss New Mexico, she said she would have the opportunity to compete in the Miss America competition.
Unlike television shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras” that give the impression that beauty pageants focus solely on physical appearance, Chavez said that the pageants emphasize service and intellect.
“Often on these televisions shows, we see parents pushing the children. It should be the child’s choice. Pageants teach good lessons about winning and losing, but at the same time, these kids don’t want to compete and it’s the mothers or the families pushing them to do so,” said Chavez.
She said the pageants also helped her with public speaking and confidence, but that it was always her choice to enter the pageants.
The Miss America organization is the largest women’s scholarship provider in the nation, she said.
The winner of Miss New Mexico will receive a $10,000 scholarship and the winner of Miss America is awarded a $50,000 scholarship.
“It is a huge help as a college student,” she said.
Chavez said that she realizes pageants are stereotyped as being only about looks, but that it is a stereotype she hopes to help break.
Chavez encourages any students that want to compete for a local title to do so by going to missnewmexico. org, she said.