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Democrat & Chronicle

Puerto Rican Title Passes

City contest celebrates teen abilities

by Daryl Bell

July 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Democrat & Chronicle. All rights reserved. 

There was plenty of cheering, laughter, and pride exhibited at the 34th annual Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester Cultural Pageant at the Eisenhart Auditorium of the Rochester Museum & Science Center Sunday afternoon.

The pageant, sponsored by the Puerto Rican Festival Inc., provides young Latinas an opportunity to portray the values and qualities of their culture and history through song, dance and poetry. It also gives the city's Puerto Rican community a chance to congregate.

"There's no booing here," said Maria Esquilin, whose daughter, Adrianna Garcia, who turns 13 this year, made her second pageant appearance in three years.

"This tells you something about the Puerto Rican culture right there. We're here to cheer on all the contestants, not just the winners. Everyone who competes is a winner."

In addition to beauty and talent, the 12 contestants who competed for the title also have brains. According to David Hernandez, president of the Puerto Rican Festival Inc., the girls, who ranged in age from 13 to 18, must carry a C average or better in their academic work. They must also exhibit character worthy of holding the title for a year.

Evelize Ramos, 16, was named the pageant's queen.

"We take this pageant very seriously," he said. "We've never had to remove anyone after they've won the title and I think that shows the commitment and the pride that these young ladies have in being named Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester."

Appearing before a crowd of around 200, the contestants showed style on stage. Tyesha Rivera, 14, who was named princess, incorporated several dance forms into a routine that impressed the gathering. Not to be outdone, 14 year-old Emily Rodriguez, wearing a red, white and blue dress and waving a Puerto Rican flag, used a more traditional style that was equally well received.

"It's difficult giving up my crown because I've enjoyed being Miss Puerto Rico of Rochester," said Anais Rodriguez, 15, who won last year's event.

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