At the Jan. 19 Miss Santa Clara and Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2019 Scholarship Competitions, a few things were different from previous competitions. No longer part of the program was the swimwear segment for the Miss Santa Clara contestants. During the evening wear segment, contestants gave a brief social impact statement to promote their platforms, a new addition to the program. Cate Carlin, Miss Santa Clara 2012, standing in for Tony Moises, emceed the event with her natural wit and charm.
What remained the same was that all contestants received scholarship money for participating in the competition. Thanks to scholarships provided by the City of Santa Clara, the Miss Santa Clara Organization and Elite SEM, $15,350 in scholarships went to contestants from the Miss Santa Clara, Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen, and Miss Silicon Valley competitions. These competitions are preliminary events to the Miss California and Miss California’s Outstanding Teen competitions.
At the end of the afternoon, the radiant Sydney Johnson, 23, was crowned Miss Santa Clara 2019. Johnson took home $3,200 in scholarships. A graduate student at Santa Clara University, Johnson is studying to be a kindergarten teacher in the school’s Master of Arts Teaching and Teaching Credential Program. As an undergraduate student at Santa Clara University, Johnson majored in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Child Studies. Johnson’s platform is “Getting Children Active: A Movement Towards Better Health.”
“As a kindergarten teacher, I’ll be a child’s first teacher ever when they’re just coming into school,” Johnson said. “Kids look for people to look up to. They’re still figuring themselves out and it’s important for them to have people in their lives who can help them reach their full potential and I think I can be that person.”
This competition was Johnson’s fourth time competing to be Miss Santa Clara.
“Four years ago, when I competed in Miss Santa Clara, I weighed 230 pounds. That didn’t stop me from competing,” Johnson said. “During the summer of 2017, I started to lose weight. It took a year-and-a-half to lose 90 pounds. I just reached my goal weight last month of 140 pounds. I wanted to lose weight because I was worried about my health. Diabetes runs in my family. Now I exercise everyday and I make healthier food choices.”
Isabella Mills, 15, is Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2019. Mills won $1,700 in scholarships. This graceful high school sophomore is currently home schooled with Oasis High School, described by Mills as an online school. Mills’ platform is “Passion to Dance: Fostering Unity Through Dance Education.”
“I’m going to put the money I won toward my ballet school, City Ballet-San Francisco,” Mills said. “My goal is to be a professional dancer at a world-renowned ballet company someday. I love performing on stage. Dancing comes with acting. I’m performing my emotions on stage. The first type of dance I did was Broadway jazz. My mom decided to get me into ballet. My teachers told me I had a gift and I continued to do ballet.”