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Marisol Velazquez Sunnyside's new Miss Cinco de Mayo

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Crowned last Friday night, the new Sunnyside Miss Cinco de Mayo court includes (L-R) Miss Cinco de Mayo Marisol Velasquez, Princess Marisol Garcia, Princess Maritza Licea and Princess Tatiana Hernandez.

Eight young ladies vying for Sunnyside's Miss Cinco de Mayo crown took to the stage last Friday at the Sunnyside High School auditorium. Each wanting to represent the community with their own spirit of individuality and passion, showed the community a sense of passion and pride in both their culture and the city of Sunnyside itself.

But, only one would be chosen to wear the Miss Cinco de Mayo crown and three others to serve as her princesses. The newly crowned queen, Marisol Velazquez, daughter of Martin and Fernanda Velazquez, was named after performing a hip-hop dance routine to a Latino dance mix, and sharing her most significant achievement in life so far ... passing the WASL as a freshman and working hard as an academic achiever.

Velazquez was the choice of the judges after having scored well for her talent, poise, scholastic abilities, and in both the interview and group routines. She was also named the "People's Choice" after a vote of the audience in attendance at last Friday's pageant.

Serving on her court will be Tatiana Hernandez, who is the daughter of Santiago and Apolonia Hernandez; Maritza Licea, daughter of Antolin and Norma Licea; and Marisol Garcia, the daughter of Manuel and Mirella Garcia.

Hernandez and Garcia each performed folkloric dances to traditional music pieces. Hernandez told those in attendance the most challenging issue facing the community is the rising number of dropouts. She said she feels too many children in the community do not complete their education.

Garcia was asked what advice she would give President Obama. She said she would ask him to be open to the opinions of the people he serves.

Licea's father is a member of Mariachi Tapatio and she performed "Me Gustas Mucho" with the group during the talent portion of the pageant. She was asked what aspect of her culture makes her most proud. Because she feels music connects people with their roots and traditions, as well as emotions, Licea told the audience she is most proud of the musical heritage of her culture.

Also competing for a chance to serve as ambassadors for Sunnyside were Arasele Prieto, Blanca Macias, Jessica Mendez and Alexis Alvarez. Alvarez was named co-Miss Photogenic and was the runner-up for the "People's Choice" award. The scholastic award winner was Garcia, Licea was named "Miss Congeniality" and also shared the award for "Miss Photogenic."

The outgoing court, Miss Cinco de Mayo Jazmine Salmeron and her princesses, Margarita Manzo, Rubi Chavez and Daniela Ramos, each gave their final farewells. They shared a few memories with the crowd and thanked the community and all those who supported them throughout their reign.

Salmeron said, "Getting the crown was a dream come true, but it was a lot of work." She shared the many opportunities to serve as a representative and servant of the community were memorable and she will always cherish the memories made during the past year.

Emcees for the 2009-10 Miss Cinco de Mayo Pageant were Eligio Montes Cruz and Gabby Mendoza, two well-known radio DJs. They kept the crowd entertained and built up suspense leading to the crowing of Sunnyside's 2009-10 Miss Cinco de Mayo Marisol Velazquez.

It was a night the newly crowned court is destined to remember.

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