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Miss Cinco de Mayo pageant to feature 17 candidates

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The candidates for this year's Miss Cinco de Mayo court include (back row L-R) Adilene Hernandez, Maria Belen Ramos, Yanet Candido, Veronica Almeida, Karen Valencia, Jessica Mendoza, Lupe Ochoa, Analee Mendoza, Andrea Benitez, Rosa Benitez, Kandy Lemus and Lucia Mendoza; (front row L-R) Andrea Garcia, Casandra Romero, Jennet Sanchez, Perla Ortega and Angelia Rodriguez.

The auditorium at Sunnyside High School is sure to be packed the night of the annual Miss Cinco de Mayo Pageant.

A total of 17 young ladies will by vying for the honor of Miss Cinco de Mayo during the pageant on Wednesday, April 27, from 6 to 9 p.m.

This year's Miss Cinco de Mayo candidates include Adilene Hernandez, Maria Belen Ramos, Yanet Candido, Veronica Almeida, Karen Valencia, Jessica Mendoza, Lupe Ochoa, Analee Mendoza, Andrea Benitez, Rosa Benitez, Kandy Lemus, Lucia Mendoza, Andrea Garcia, Casandra Romero, Jennet Sanchez, Perla Ortega and Angelica Rodriguez.

Originally, a total of 26 young ladies applied to compete for Miss Cinco de Mayo honors, said event organizer Carlos Maya.

Maya said he is excited about this year's event.

"It is a very positive program for young women that the community supports well," said Maya.

He said the Miss Cinco de Mayo program also provides an opportunity for college scholarships. Maya said he would like to eventually get enough sponsors for the event to give everyone competing a college scholarship.

Between now and the time of the pageant, the young ladies will be finding sponsors and selling raffle tickets, with prizes to be awarded the night of the program. Maya said the girls will also be spending a lot of time practicing their routine.

"It is a lot of fun," said Maya. "I think we will have a packed house."

Veronica Almeida

Almeida, 17, is a junior at Sunnyside High School. The 5'4" Almeida is the daughter of Luz and Adan Almeida.

She carries a 3.66 grade point average. She is involved with several school activities, including Link Crew, French Club, Future Business Leaders of America and Teens Against Tobacco Use. Almeida is currently in the high school production of the musical "Grease" and will be participating in track this fall.

"I'm an outgoing, happy, talkative, kind, and social type of person," said Almeida. "I love to sing and run around town with my best friend to stay in shape for track."

After high school, Almeida plans to attend the University of Portland, majoring in psychology and law. She also plans to study in Spain for five weeks.

Andrea Benitez

Benitez is the 17-year-old daughter of Juan and Maria Benitez. She is a junior at Sunnyside High School.

The 5'2" Benitez has been involved with the fashion show at the high school. She is also involved in Link Crew and with the high school tennis and cross country teams.

"I'm outgoing (and I) love to have fun," said Benitez. "I'm very friendly. I like to have lots of friends. I am very outspoken. I'm kind and caring."

After high school, Benitez plans to attend college to become a dentist.

Rosa Benitez

Benitez, 16, is the daughter of Jose and Alicia Benitez. The 5'3-1/2" Benitez is a junior at Sunnyside High School, where she has a 2.88 grade point average.

Benitez enjoys participating in local parades. She also enjoys volunteering at the Holy Spirit Church. Benitez also enjoys dancing and roping.

"I was born in Toppenish and have been raised in Sunnyside," said Benitez. "I have been working since the age of 14, (where) I've learned responsibility and teamwork."

After high school, Benitez plans to attend a community college and then transfer to a four-year institution.

"My goal is to become a legal assistant," said Benitez.

Yanet Candido

Candido is the 16-year-old daughter of Graciela Arias.

The 5'2" Candido is a junior at Sunnyside High School, where she currently has a 3.82 grade point average.

Besides being a star on the girls soccer team, Candido enjoys babysitting, playing indoor soccer, shopping and trying new things.

"I have two brothers, a sister and one nephew," said Candido. "I'm outgoing, responsible, active and free-spirited."

After high school, Candido plans to attend community college and then transfer to a university.

Andrea Garcia

Garcia, 16, is the daughter of Joel and MaryAnn Garcia.

Garcia, who stand 5'1", is currently a junior at Sunnyside High School, where she has a 3.77 grade point average.

"I like writing, being with family and friends and shopping with my mom," said Garcia.

Garcia is involved with several high school activities, including cheerleading, Link Crew, DECA and student council. Besides those activities, Garcia enjoys working with the school district's GEAR-UP program, drawing and playing with her cats.

After high school, Garcia plans to attend Yakima Valley Community College for two years, studying either law or education. She then plans to transfer to the University of Washington.

Adilene Hernandez

Hernandez, 16, is the daughter of Cristina and Anselmo Hernandez.

The 5'6" Hernandez is a junior at Sunnyside High School.

Hernandez is involved with numerous activities at school, including prom committee, Pep Club, French Club, fire squad, Teen Aware, Teens Against Tobacco Use and tennis.

Away from school, Hernandez works with children as a Bible school instructor and also sings in her church choir. She is also a GEAR-UP tutor.

"I am a person who likes to be involved in school activities," said Hernandez.

Hernandez said she is a person who is dedicated to achieving her future goals.

After high school, Hernandez plans to attend the Yakima Valley Community College Grandview campus to receive her Associate of Art's degree. She later plans to attend Washington State University.

Lupe Ochoa

Ochoa is the 17-year-old daughter of Maria and Roberto Ochoa.

Ochoa, who stands 5'2", is a junior at Sunnyside High School.

She is involved with soccer and attends beauty school.

"I have a very outgoing personality," said Ochoa. "I'm a very friendly person. I like making people laugh."

Ochoa plans to attend a four-year college.

Perla Ortega

Ortega, 16, is a junior at Sunnyside High School.

Ortega, who stands 5'0", is the daughter of Pedro and Joseta Ortega.

At Sunnyside High School, Ortega has a 3.0 grade point average. Ortega is involved with fastpitch and volleyball at Sunnyside High School and she also takes part in a cosmetology course.

"I am motivated, trustworthy, respectful, friendly, intelligent and punctual," said Ortega. "In order to reach my daily and long-term goals, I try to do everything in my power to reach them."

After high school, Ortega plans to attend college to become either a teacher, doctor or business manager/owner.

Analee Mendoza

Mendoza, 16, is the daughter of Carmen Mendoza.

The 5'3" Sunnyside High School junior is involved with the Mariachi band.

"I like to sing. I like to study for school. I like to help out my parents feed their animals," said Mendoza. "I am the ninth in my family. My parents are agricultural workers and I grew up working along their side."

Mendoza plans to attend a college after high school and study dentistry.

Jessica Mendoza

Mendoza, 16, is a junior at Sunnyside High School, where she has a 3.5 grade point average.

The 5'1" Mendoza is the daughter of Jose-Luis and Natividad Mendoza.

At school, Mendoza is involved with French Club, Running Start, Link Crew and Teens Against Tobacco Use.

Mendoza enjoys singing and is involved with the youth group at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Mendoza said she is a family-oriented, friendly person. She enjoys listening to music.

After high school, Mendoza plans to attend the Tri-Cities Washington State University campus, attending dental school.

Lucia Mendoza

Mendoza, 17, is the daughter of Maria and Rafael Mendoza.

Mendoza, who stands 5'6", is a junior at Granger High School, where she has a 3.6 grade point average.

"I am a person who sets goals for themself and reaches them no matter what," said Mendoza. "I am an independent person, who socializes with other people well."

At Granger High School, Mendoza is involved with cross country, basketball, leadership and is the activities coordinator officer for the Associated Student Body.

After graduation, Mendoza plans to attend medical school.

Maria Ramos

Ramos, 17, is the daughter of Roberto and Ermila Ramos.

Ramos, who stands 5'4", is a junior at Sunnyside High School with a 3.18 grade point average.

At school, Ramos is involved with the Grizzliettes, French Club, Key Club and is secretary of the junior class. She is also involved with the Link Crew.

Ramos enjoys drawing, reading, dancing and playing soccer.

"I'm easy to get along with," said Ramos. "I used to have trouble paying attention in school and I'd get into trouble. Now I try really hard. I've set goals and will do anything to achieve them."

After high school, Mendoza plans to attend college, but is undecided on her course of study.

"I do plan to be someone great," said Ramos.

Angelica Rodriguez

Rodriguez, 17, is the daughter of Juan and Carmen Rodriguez.

The 5'1" Sunnyside High School junior is involved with the Distributive Education Clubs of America chapter at school. She also enjoys playing softball.

"I love to dance. I enjoy playing sports (and) I'm also a big family person," said Rodriguez.

After high school, Rodriguez plans to attend the University of Pan American, studying to become an English teacher.

Casandra Romero

Romero, who is 5'0" tall, is a 17-year-old junior at Sunnyside High School, carrying a 3.3 grade point average.

"I'm a very happy person, always smiling and energetic," said Romero. "I love to dance and act stupid so people laugh.

Romero is a football cheerleader and captain of the wrestling cheerleading squad at the high school. She is also involved with Key Club, Pep Club, Ventures, Link Crew, Honor Society, Club SADD, prom committee and is president of the junior class.

After high school, Romero wants to attend a college to major in music and dance. She would also like to try out as a cheerleader for the Yakima Sun Kings basketball team.

Jennet Sanchez

Sanchez, 16, is a junior at Sunnyside High School.

The 4'10" Grizzly student is involved with the high school's dance team.

She is the daughter of Martha Sanchez.

"I think I am a nice person," said Sanchez. "I have a lot of friends. I think I have a good personality."

After graduation, Sanchez would like to attend an art school.

Karen Valencia

Valencia stands 5'1". She is the 16-year-old daughter of Javier and Brenda Valencia.

Valencia is a junior at Sunnyside High School, where she has a 3.3 grade point average.

"I am very outgoing, spiritual, hard working and a dedicated student," said Valencia. "I love to spend time with my family and meet new people."

Valencia is involved with French Club and the Teen Aware program at school.

In addition, Valencia is involved with the youth group at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Valencia is looking at studying law at Gonzaga University after high school. She is also thinking about entering the Marines.

No information was available for Miss Cinco de Mayo candidate Kandy Lemus.

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