On the evening of Jan.7th, an enthusiastic audience gathered to see eight accomplished ladies of Santa Clara perform in the annual Miss Santa Clara Scholarship Competition held at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts. Stephanie Quintal, executive director of the Miss Santa Clara Auxiliary, thanked the city for its support and mentioned that each participant in the competition receives a form of scholarship.
The winner of this year’s Miss Santa Clara competition is Caitlin Hoemmelmeyer. She also won awards for her interview, evening wear, and community service. Currently a pre-K teacher, Hoemmelmeyer’s scholarship would be useful in helping her pursue her teaching credentials and her studies in Child Development at San Jose State University.
“There were a lot of really amazing girls tonight,” says Hoemmelmeyer in an ocean blue evening dress with a sparkling jeweled strap. “I competed in Miss Santa Clara six times. I kept coming back every year and I finally got my turn! I’ve learned about confidence and so many things about myself through this program that made me the woman I am today. I also want to thank my family, my friends, and my boyfriend.”
For the talent segment, Hoemmelmeyer performed an energetic hip-shaking Tahitian dance in a feathered ensemble with a matching headdress.
“I have family in Hawaii who inspired me to learn Tahitian dance,” she says.
Hoemmelmeyer’s platform is breast cancer awareness. Last year, she raised $3,500 to support this cause.
“This year, my goal is to raise $10,000 [for breast cancer awareness],” Hoemmelmeyer says. “I’d also like to raise money to bring back the fireworks to Santa Clara for Fourth of July.”
The first runner-up is Arienne Calingo, a Santa Clara University student who took home awards for her interview, talent, physical fitness, on-stage question, and evening wear.
“I’m happy I’ve won all these awards,” Calingo says in her apricot evening gown with a ruffle train. “The talent segment was my favorite part of the competition. I self-choreographed [my ballet performance] to Bach’s Prelude to a Cello Suite.”
During the on-stage question segment, Calingo was asked which current Miss California or Miss America was her favorite. Calingo responded that she admired Noelle Freeman, Miss California 2011, for being inspirational, genuine, and approachable.
The contestants demonstrated their stage presence during the talent segment. Renee Torres touched on the deep emotions of Adele’s “Someone Like You” in a passionate lyrical dance. Elise Vue, the second-runner up, performed a colorful monologue from Taming of the Shrew.
Elegance took the stage as the ladies modeled their evening wear. Martha Silva shone in a shimmery midnight blue gown. Reina Stevens showed off an emerald green dress with tiger print accents.
The ladies shared their wit during the on-stage question segment. When asked to evaluate affiliates of the Miss Santa Clara organization, Steffi Huynh, winner of the Miss Congeniality award, responded that all affiliated organizations are important because of the role models representing them. When asked what three things she would bring with her on an island, Kathy Tran responded that she’d bring a tennis ball, an iPod, and peanut butter.
Other event highlights included stunning musical performances by Jamie Mamikunian, Miss Santa Clara 1999, and Melissa Bowling, Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2008 and Miss Santa Clara 2010. Jessa Carmack, Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2011, Felicia Alvarez, Miss Mission City 2011, and Jansie Tompkins, Miss Santa Clara 2011, each gave vibrant gymnastics or dance performances.
Miss Santa Clara Scholarship Awards
Miss Santa Clara $5,000: Caitlin Hoemmelmeyer
First Runner-Up $1,500: Arienne Calingo
Second Runner-Up $900: Elise Vue
Non-Finalists (5@ $500 each) $2,500: Renee Torres, Martha Silva, Reina Stevens, Kathy Tran, and Steffi Huynh
Interview Award $200: Caitlin Hoemmelmeyer and Arienne Calingo
Talent Award $200: Arienne Calingo
On-Stage Question Award $200: Arienne Calingo
Physical Fitness Award $200: Arienne Calingo
Evening Wear Award $200: Arienne Calingo and Caitlin Hoemmelmeyer
Miss Congeniality Award $100: Steffi Huynh and Arienne Calingo
Spirit of the Competition Award $100: Reina Stevens
Community Service Award $100: Caitlin Hoemmelmeyer