Ever since Santa Clara native Jessa Carmack was crowned Miss California 2016 back in July, she has been busy preparing for Miss America. On Sept. 11, Carmack will compete for Miss America, to be shown live on ABC. Carmack was back in Santa Clara on Aug. 13 for the Miss America 2017 Send-Off Celebration held in her honor at David’s Restaurant. The restaurant is across the street from Levi Stadium, where Carmack appeared for four seasons as a San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush cheerleader.
“I feel overjoyed. It’s an amazing feeling to know that over 130 people came here to surround me with love,” said Carmack, a recent graduate of San Jose State University. “The support system I have is the best. I leave California on Aug. 28 to go to Atlantic City. America can vote me into the Top 15 at Miss America by voting at missamerica.org/vote. You can vote daily until Sept. 5.”
Attendees at the party included Donna Jones, Miss California Chairman of the Board and Director of Field Operations, Kathi Baldwin, Miss California State Field Director and Russ Gladden, Miss California President and Chief of Operations. Junann Smith, from the Miss California Preliminary Pageants Association, gave Carmack a $500 check and Gwen Adkins, Miss California Northern Field Director, read a note to Carmack offering well wishes from United States Senator Diane Feinstein.
“If there’s anybody that’s ready to go to Miss America and win, it’s [Jessa Carmack],” said Gabino Lopez, executive director of Miss Bay Area/North Bay. He presented Carmack, who was Miss North Bay 2016, with a personalized robe for her to wear when it gets chilly backstage at Miss America.
City Councilmembers Pat Kolstad and Kathy Watanabe presented a proclamation to Carmack on behalf of Mayor Lisa Gillmor and the City Council.
“From talking to the young ladies today, I like seeing the opportunities that are offered to them as a result of the Miss America and the Miss California program,” said Watanabe, referring to the scholarships that program participants, such as Carmack, have received.
“We want to congratulate Jessa on winning Miss California and to say good luck as she leaves to compete for Miss America,” said Stephanie Quintal, co-organizer of the send-off party and executive director of the Miss Santa Clara Organization, which has given Carmack multiple titles. “On Facebook recently, I saw someone post about our homegrown Miss California from Santa Clara and I think that’s the perfect way to describe Jessa. I’ve known Jessa since she was 16 years-old and to see her on the Miss America stage would be so exciting.”