Students earn scholarships in third annual Belleza Latina pageant

Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian Valeria Guizado, sophomore in biology, crowed 2014 Miss KSU Bellaza Latina at the competition in the KSU ballroom on Saturday, April 19.

The third annual Belleza Latina pageant was held in the K-State Student Union Saturday night. The pageant was a chance for students of Latin American descent to earn scholarships while showcasing their heritage.

“The main purpose is to give Latina students an opportunity to express their culture,” said Jeff Andrade, senior in electrical engineering and president of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, the host of the event.

Valeria Guizado, sophomore in biology, took home the grand prize and title of Belleza Latina 2014. The first runner-up was Priscilla De Los Santos, graduate student in public health.

Scholarship component

Andrade said his organization promoted the event in a number of ways, including a booth in the K-State Student Union and holding an information session where prospective participants could learn about the pageant’s requirements and purpose. After that, applications were accepted and the participants chosen.

The event featured six K-State students of Latin American descent competing for scholarships and the title.

“Since this pageant is for scholarship, one of the requirements is they had to have a Latina heritage,” Andrade said. “We also had a GPA requirement.”

Andrade said the application had some of the generic scholarship-type questions, as well as an essay portion.

Participants were rated based on interviews with the judges the morning of the pageant, a talent competition, an “evening portion” in which contestants wore evening dresses they chose themselves, and on-stage questions answered live in front of the audience.

Audience participation

The audience was also involved in how awards were given out at the competition. Through the course of the event, audience members were asked to vote on the event’s Facebook page for the competition’s “Most Photogenic” category. Audiences members were also able to vote for a “Fan Favorite” award. The winner of each category received a $100 scholarship. Krystal Martinez, senior in animal sciences, won both awards.

Mike McFadden, Wamego resident, attended because his niece was one of the participants. He liked how the audience got to vote, he said.

“I thought it was very nice compared to last year,” McFadden said. “A lot more audience participation.”

Ashley Wooten, senior in political science, said she attended to support her friend participating in the event. The night was a celebration of different cultures coming together and sharing similarities while promoting scholarship and beauty, Wooten said.

“I really enjoyed this pageant,” Wooten said. “Everything flowed nicely, and even where they had rough spots in the pageant, they figured out how to fix everything.”

Shelton grew up in the desert southwest. A native of Lancaster, California, he mostly grew up in south Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Colorado Springs, Colorado before moving to Kansas and graduating from Junction City High School. He started working as a news writer for the Collegian in 2009 before taking a three-year break from college. He returned to K-State in 2013 and has since worked for the news desk, feature desk, as a copy editor and now as a sports writer. He enjoys tap dancing, writing anything possible, reading court opinions and watching Arizona Coyotes hockey.