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Recruitment underway for Miss Manteca, Ambassador
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Manteca Youth Focus is heading back to school to recruit the new Miss Manteca and Manteca City Ambassador.

Two former Miss Manteca’s Carolina Gutierrez (2013) and Myklyn Balmut (2012) visited Manteca High School on Tuesday to spread the word about the scholarship and leadership opportunities open to MUSD students via MYF.

Gutierrez, who is spearheading the high school recruitment efforts this year invited Balmut, a Manteca High graduate and current reigning Miss California State, to connect with students and generate excitement about the upcoming scholarship competition. Gutierrez will be visiting her alma mater, East Union High, and Sierra High School classes this week as well. Their goal, Gutierrez says, is to help “dispel some of the myths and misconceptions” that people often have about the competition. 

After visiting 15 classes on campus including Leadership, Choir, Band, AP History and AP English, Gutierrez is eager to see more students take advantage of the training provided by MYF as part of the scholarship competition. 

“MYF helped me build a resume of my volunteer activities and awards that I was able to use for so many scholarship applications,” explained Gutierrez. “I also was able to get training in public speaking and interview skills which have been so helpful to me transitioning from high school to college and adult life.” 

Gutierrez now attends Delta College and will transfer to a four-year university to complete her degree in Biological Sciences.

“People see the crown and automatically think ‘beauty pageant’ but that is simply not the case,” explained Balmut when asked about the most common misconception about the program. 

Balmut was valedictorian of her graduating class and now attends USC, majoring in international relations.

“We are a scholarship competition and there are no phases related to beauty, swimwear, modeling or anything like that,” she said. “It’s so important to me that people understand that MYF has so much to offer in terms of skills and opportunities that have a ripple effect to set us up for success in the future.”

Balmut was a part of MYF for seven years, earning a total of $1,600 from the local organization and an additional $3,000 scholarship from the state level organization based out of San Jose.

Gutierrez felt that it was vital to be able to meet the students in an environment that they were comfortable and answer all their questions in order to better encourage them to give the program a try. 

“They really have nothing to lose because MYF offers a scholarship to every single participant,” noted Gutierrez, who earned $1,000 as first-year participant in the competition and an additional $300 from the state level competition last summer.

The recruitment efforts this week are all in advance of the upcoming Competition Information Nights which will be hosted by MYF Monday through Thursday, Jan. 12-15, at Leonard Photography at 200 East Yosemite Avenue. Interested participants are encouraged to attend any one of the sessions which begins at 7 p.m. If under the age 18, a parent or guardian is required to attend. Competition directors Shim Lacy-Watson and Judi Whitby will be on hand along with current scholarship recipients to provide the inside scoop on what it takes to participate in this unique scholarship program. For more information contact Shim Lacy-Watson via email at or 209.518.3915.