Each one is a star

Not your ordinary pageant

A LITTLE SHY - Shining Star Pageant contestant Kasandra Trujillo, 13, of Sunnyside smiles through her hands as her “Hero Buddy,” Prosser High School student Zane Castilleja, escorts her across the stage.

Photo by Patrick Shelby
A LITTLE SHY - Shining Star Pageant contestant Kasandra Trujillo, 13, of Sunnyside smiles through her hands as her “Hero Buddy,” Prosser High School student Zane Castilleja, escorts her across the stage.


I LIKE PINK – Prosser’s Lily Visser, 7, gives Miss Prosser Queen Gentri Gray her answer to what her favorite color is. “Pink,” she said, “because I like pink.”


CONFIDENT SMILE AND WAVE - Modeling her formal wear with style and confidence is Avelynn Antram, 10, of Sunnyside, center, as she participated in her fifth Shining Star Pageant for girls with special needs. She was named elementary division queen. Also pictured are Miss Prosser Princess Stephanie Munoz, left, and Miss Prosser Princess Grace Park.


UNDER THE SEA – Five- year-old Andrea Briones of Prosser models her mermaid costume during the Shining Star Pageant theme wear competition last Saturday in Prosser. She was named Shining Star Queen in her age division.

— Glittering crowns and shiny trophies were awarded to 48 Shining Star Pageant participants this past Saturday, and each presentation was greeted with squeals of delight at the fifth annual event billed as “… not your ordinary beauty pageant.”

Family and friends cheered each time one of the special needs contestants, who ranged in age from 5 to 40, took their turn on the Bethel Church stage.

Each contestant was introduced and asked a question during the formal wear portion of the pageant.

Lily Visser, 7, of Prosser, said her favorite color is pink and when asked why, she said “because I like pink,” drawing laughter from the packed auditorium’s audience.

Five-year-old Andrea Briones Rivera of Prosser turned on her 70-watt smile when she was named Miss Shining Star Early Elementary in the first round of awards given in the morning program.

“I am amazed at all of the different girls,” said Miss Prosser Princess Grace Park, who along with the entire Miss Prosser royalty helped to introduce each contestant.

Avelynn Antram, 10, of Sunnyside was participating in her fifth pageant, and was named Queen in the elementary (ages 9-11) division.

Na’ava Radach, 13, of Grandview was selected queen in the junior division.

“It was very hard to choose just one winner in each age group,” pageant judge and community supporter Jane Bell said after the names of the morning pageant winners were announced.

As a part of the pageant, which also included medals for friendship and for community service, each contestant also brought new pajamas.

They will be given to area hospitals and children’s programs serving vulnerable children, said pageant director Rene Martinez.

She said Angelina Lee of Spokane was the Community Service Award winner in the 9-11 elementary age division. She donated 152 pajamas. Also earning community service honors were Vivian Courtney, 5, of Hermiston, Ore. and Ashley Torres, 14, of Sunnyside.

For the first time ever, the pageant officials crowned two queens in the women (20+) division.

Mary Sinclair, 23, of Tacoma was named Westside Queen and Ashlee Catron, 22, of Moxee was named Eastside Queen, Martinez said.

The older divisions pageant took place in the afternoon with Stephanie Renteria, 17, of Mesa selected Senior Queen.

Community service awards went to Savanna Landeros, 17, of Sunnyside and Carlee Ritch, 21, of Yakima.

The pageant was founded by Sophia Martinez of Prosser as an event to give girls and women with special needs a day to shine onstage.

It was fun to see the girls given a way to show confidence, Miss Prosser Gentri Gray said.

More than 80 volunteers, including members of the West Benton Fire Rescue, helped with the backstage activities.


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