Mr. and Miss Hispanic/Latinx winners crowned
Monday, March 29, 2021
Amid a roar of applause, Yasmin Flores, sophomore marketing major, and Francisco Hernandez, freshman construction engineering technology major, were crowned 2021 Mr. and Miss Hispanic/Latinx OSU Saturday.
Held in the Student Union Theater and broadcasted live on OStateTV, the scholarship pageant celebrated diverse customs, traditions and rich heritage from various Hispanic/Latinx cultures. Each of the six contestants — four vying for the Miss title and two for the Mr. — competed in seven categories throughout the day: professionalism, private interview, platform, cultural wear, talent, evening wear and extemporaneous question.
Along with the title, winners receive a $1,000 scholarship and a one-year reign to schedule programming and work toward their platforms. Flores aspires to use her title to start a new organization on campus called The Prevention, targeted toward raising awareness in the Hispanic community on the issue of sexual assault.
“Winning this title is such an amazing honor to me,” she said. “Not only do I get to work toward my platform, but I get to represent my community and culture along the way. But I don’t want The Prevention to be limited to the Hispanic community at OSU; I want it to be a resource for anybody to come and join.”
Hernandez’s goal is to raise the numbers and retention of Hispanic students in higher education. His desire to create a safe place for students as an encouragement to stay in college comes from his own experience as a first generation college student.
“When I came to OSU, I remember it was a scary moment,” Hernandez said. “It was a new chapter of my life and I didn’t know what to expect. I want to work on creating a safe space for incoming scholars at OSU and making them feel comfortable, like they have a home away from home, so they know if they set their mind to something, they can achieve it. ”
Although students compete for the title and scholarship money, the pageant is about more than just competition, said Rey Marrufo, Coordinator of Hispanic/Latinx Affairs in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. It’s about personal growth in confidence, leadership and developing skills that can last the contestants a lifetime.
“The way these contestants grow from the fall to the day of the contest is such a beautiful thing,” Marrufo said. “They develop so much confidence and teamwork skills; it shows them how much they are capable of doing. This is a competition, but we like to create an environment that promotes an atmosphere of family over cutthroat competition.”
Even amidst the unique challenges brought by COVID-19, Marrufo said the contestants maintained a positive attitude. Last year, the pageant was held a week before the nationwide shutdown and close to 400 people came to view in person. This year, only 75 were allowed in the audience to allow for social distancing.
“We have such a rich history at OSU and this is a big event within the university that brings so many people together,” Marrufo said. “It has been challenging thinking about families missing out on seeing their students, but these contestants have always been in good spirits and we hope that people were able to connect, even with viewing the livestream instead of being in person.”
Jovette Dew, assistant vice president and director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Academic Support Division of Institutional Diversity, announced at the pageant that each contestant will receive an additional $250 in scholarships from Institutional Diversity for their display of leadership and courage in representing their culture.
STORY BY: Kylee Sutherland | Communications Intern
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