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New queens, princesses of Vista crowned

VISTA — Lights, camera, action! At the “Hooray for Hollywood”-themed Miss Pride of Vista and Miss Teen Tri-City scholarship pageants on March 14, six young Vistans became the newest members of North County’s royal community. The two pageants, held at Madison Middle School, were sponsored by the Pride of Vista Lion’s Club.
Blinking in the strobe light of the constant camera flashes, new Miss Teen Tri-City Bianca Salgado reeled from the shock of winning. “I’m so happy, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much!” the Rancho Buena Vista sophomore said. “I can’t wait for all the fun and exciting things we’re going to do.”
“It feels amazing, I’m so happy,” new Miss Pride of Vista Megan Amely said. “I’m really happy with my court. Everyone is awesome.” Amely, a senior at Rancho Buena Vista, wowed the judges and audience when she told them her favorite thing to talk about was math, which she plans to teach after college.
The twin pageants marked the beginning of a year of service for the queens and princesses. They will help out at charity events, ribbon-cuttings and a host of other civic activities.
“It’s so much fun,” outgoing Miss Pride of Vista Chelsea Isa said. “You’re out there with all the people in the community and you’re helping with events. It doesn’t even feel like community service. You’re just out there having fun with everybody else.”
“A lot of people their age don’t even recognize community service is a fun thing,” observed Lorraine Fears, Miss Pride of Vista 2006 and co-director of the pageant. “That’s what this pageant allows them to do. They get their community service hours and they get to have fun too.”
Pageant day was also the end of a rigorous rehearsal process that took several months. All of the 10 contestants practiced dancing, walking and public speaking.
“It’s fun,” Mary Coletti, winner of the Pride of Vista’s People’s Choice award, said. “It’s not stressful at all as most people would think. You learn experiences you otherwise wouldn’t, and you make friends from other schools.”
Fears said she remained involved with the Pride of Vista pageant because, unlike other pageants she had entered, the contest lacked any kind of cattiness. Contestants, winning or not, form lasting bonds, she said.
“She’s my bestest friend,” Paige Hodgkinson, Teen Tri-City pageant’s Miss Congeniality, said as she hugged fellow contestant Alexandra Huerta. “I’ve known her for two weeks. It kind of gets that way when you’re stuck in a room dancing for hours and hours.”
“You’re walking in heels and it hurts so you feel the pain together,” Coletti said with a smile.
More information on the pageant and court activities, future and past, can be found at