Spotlight shines on local girls

Little Gisselle Garcia, 5, of Toppenish, dressed in a red feather trimmed fancy dress, accepts her queen sash for the early elementary age division for girls ages five through eight.

Photo by Julia Hart
Little Gisselle Garcia, 5, of Toppenish, dressed in a red feather trimmed fancy dress, accepts her queen sash for the early elementary age division for girls ages five through eight.



— Everyone gets a crown.

Each of the 32 girls who participated in the second annual Washington Shining Star Pageant deserved that and more.

The pageant was Saturday at Bethel Church and attracted an overflow audience to watch as the differently-abled girls crossed the stage on the arms of volunteers called “Prosser’s Handsome Heroes.”

Some of the candidates were a tiny bit timid; others were bursting with confidence.

Little Gisselle Garcia, a 5-year-old kindergartener from Toppenish, was dressed in a sparkling red dress trimmed with matching red feathers. The petite miss claimed the title of Early Elementary Division Queen.

Accepting her sash, the little girl continued to smile as she clutched a bouquet of flowers, a shiny trophy and, of course, a crown made of stars.

Perhaps one of the most confident of the young girls to cross the stage was Sofia Martinez, 14, of Prosser. Her mother, Rene Satterfield Martinez, created the pageant a year ago so Sofia could be in a pageant “just for girls like her.”

Martinez, in her speech to the judges and the audience of family and friends, said “… every girl should get to be a princess,”

As part of the event, the princesses collected pajamas for their community service. Satterfield Martinez announced that 631 pairs of pajamas were collected for Ronald McDonald House.

The girls collecting the most pajamas received a community service award, in addition to their other hardware.

Martinez collected 115 pajamas and Zenaida Rodriquez, 10, of Mabton turned in 41 pair of pajamas for her community service medal.

Queen Roni Smith,16, a contestant in the senior division (ages 15-19), collected 114 pajamas.

Sarah Hanson, 24 of Kennewick collected 16 pair of nightwear and was named the Women’s Division (ages 20 and up) queen.

Angelina Thomas Larson, 14, was named Junior Division queen. She sported a cheerful and happy smile every time she crossed the stage.

Nine-year-old Alianette Damian of Yakima was named queen in the Elementary Division.

Satterfield Martinez said she was a little overwhelmed that the size of the pageant had more than doubled from last year.

“I hope we can continue to celebrate those girls who are not ordinary,” she said.



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