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Miss Santa Clara & Miss Santa’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Are Crowned

Miss Santa Clara & Miss Santa's Outstanding Teen 2016 Are Crowned

Before revealing the winners of the Jan. 9 Miss Santa Clara and Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen scholarship competition, master of ceremonies Tony Moises jokingly addressed the recent Miss Universe gaffe by reassuring the afternoon audience at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts that he carefully reads the names of winners. With confidence, Moises announced Shaylynn Graydon, 20, as Miss Santa Clara 2016; and Ashley Santos, 15, as Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2016.

“We are fortunate to be one of the few Miss California local preliminaries left that awards a scholarship to every contestant,” says Stephanie Quintal, executive director of the Miss Santa Clara Organization. “I could not have done this alone. We have a wonderful committee.”

“This is my city and I feel proud I’ve been chosen to represent it,” says Graydon, radiant in her new tiara and Miss Santa Clara sash, which complimented her mermaid styled gown with gold overtones. For the talent segment, she performed an original rap with a message about self-empowerment.


Graydon, 20, is taking classes in environmental studies at De Anza College. This aspiring environmental lawyer’s platform is Promoting Sustainability and Environmental Ethics.

“My first goal is to start reaching out to children,” Graydon says. “I want children to have a relationship with nature. I might go to classrooms or take the children outdoors.”

Graydon also won the Miss Congeniality award.

“I am as friendly as possible to everybody,” she says. “A lot of that comes from my mom and grandma.”

Shining in a bright pink strapless evening gown, Outstanding Teen Santos replied to her on-stage question, which limited her to one word to describe her platform. Without missing a beat, this Wilcox High School sophomore responded “active” and explained she wanted to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

“My platform is Dance a Movement Toward Better Health,” Santos says. “It’s about staying active and healthy through the art of dance.”

During the talent segment, Santos channeled Cinderella while jazz dancing to “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes.”

“I’ve been dancing since I was three years-old,” she says. “Ms. Linnea Sheehy, my dance teacher, helped me with all the phases of the competition.”

Other Miss Santa Clara contestants included Reina Stevens, who owned the stage while tap dancing to “Razzle Dazzle.” Faithe Pearson dedicated her song “I Am Not My Hair” to her mother, who is currently battling cancer. Trisha Bantigue delicately presented two sides of the argument while debating whether the United States should admit Syrian refugees. Ashley Wong gracefully gave a spoken word presentation, “The Arrival.” During the evening wear segment, Evangelea Dicco, Marielle L’Heureux, and Sydney Johnson turned heads in their stunning attire- a blue gown with a sparkling silver back, a black dress with gem-studded straps and a cherry red skirt with a snow white top, respectively.

Among the Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen contestants, the girls brought attention to their platforms during their on-stage questions. Natalie DeSousa spoke about how dancing helped her lower her cholesterol as a child. Dara Woo aspires to start a club at her school for girls in computer science. Kiara Thorp wants to talk to students about dealing with anxiety. During the talent segment, Ilena Peng skillfully demonstrated the dramatic arcs in her piano piece, “Polichinelle,” Isabel Wilner played the violin solo “Ashokan Farewell” with expression. And Alicia Luong conveyed the dreamy tone of “Danny Boy” on the vibraphone. For the evening gown segment, both Alexandria Perez and Anne Wilner charmed the crowds- Perez in a one-shoulder royal purple gown with flower accents and Wilner in a strapless cream-colored gown.

Miss Santa Clara Miss Santa Clara 2016, Shaylynn Graydon, $2,500
1st runner up, Ashley Wong, $550
2nd runner up, Trisha Bantigue, $450
3rd runner up, Evangelea Dicco, $350
Interview, Shaylynn Graydon, $100
Talent, Reina Stevens, $100
4 Non-finalists, Faithe Pearson, Marielle L’Heureux, Reina Stevens and Sydney Johnson, $800 total
Miss Congeniality, Shaylynn Graydon, $100
Spirit of Competition, Sydney Johnson, $100
Facebook Fan Favorite, Ashley Wong, $50
Total: $5,100

Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen
Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2016, Ashley Santos, $1,200
1st runner up, Ilena Peng, $400
2nd runner up, Natalie DeSousa, $300
3rd runner up, Dara Woo, $200
Interview, Dara Woo, $100
Talent, Ilena Peng, $100
5 non-finalists, Alexandria Perez, Alicia Luong, Anne Wilner, Isabel Wilner and Kiara Thorp,
$750 total

Miss Congeniality, Alexandria Perez, $100
Spirit of Competition, Dara Woo, $100
Facebook Fan Favorite, Alicia Luong, $50
Total: $3,300
Miss Congeniality, Alexandria Perez, $100
Spirit of Competition, Dara Woo, $100
Facebook Fan Favorite, Alicia Luong, $50
Total: $3,300


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