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EU junior Carolina Gutierrez wins title

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Video from the Manteca Youth Scholarship Competition.


POSTED March 11, 2013 1:44 a.m.

Carolina Gutierrez didn’t grow up participating in scholarship competitions or pageants.

The closest that she ever got was seeing Miss America on television or reading about who was crowned Miss Manteca in the newspaper.

So when the East Union junior decided that she’d enter the annual Miss Manteca event – a part of the Manteca Youth Focus scholarship organization – she didn’t really quite know what to expect.

She better learn fast.

Gutierrez beat out the other three contestants Friday night at Calvary Community Church to earn the Miss Manteca crown and sash, something that she said caught her completely off-guard.

“I was so surprised when they called my name – it was thrilling,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I remember seeing the winners in The Bulletin when I first moved here but that was about it.”

Three portions of the contest – community service, scholastic achievement and personality interview – were judged separately from the public portion of Friday’s opening event.

Gutierrez made the most of her time in front of the judges and the family and friends of her fellow contestants.

One of the things that she’ll put into play now that she’s Miss Manteca will be a “texting while driving” awareness program that she believes could end up saving lives – something that she spoke about during her community advocacy speech.

She dazzled on the piano playing Malvina Reynolds’ “Turnaround” and proved that she’s quick on her feet in the communicative skills department by breezing through the on-the-spot questions asked of her.

As a result of her winning she’ll earn a $1,000 educational scholarship and will represent Manteca at future competitions.

For the time being she’s just going to let things unfold as they may.

“I’m really just going to take things day-by-day,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work to prepare for this and I’m looking forward to what I’m going to get to do in the future.

“It was nerve-wracking, but it was worth it.”

But she won’t be alone on her journey.

Stanislaus State freshman John Dumaguing was also crowned the 2013 Manteca Teen Ambassador – reciting a monologue for his stage arts performance and advocating an outreach effort that will benefit women’s shelters that are often overwhelmed.

“John (Shaughnessy) is really good and he was a lot more confident than I was – I was so frantic and nervous about everything during the contest,” he said. “He kept his cool really well.

“But I’m looking forward to serving the community and being an advocate for women’s shelters and those that are victims of domestic violence, so many get turned away. I’m just grateful that I have this opportunity.”

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