Road Trip Through California with Songee!

Songee Barker FamilyHi there, my name is Songee Barker and I am proud to be Miss Golden Valley 2018! I am excited to compete at Miss California this June. In preparation, I’ve been reflecting on the road that got me to this point! Growing up, my family and I used to go on road trips each summer, so I thought it would be fun to take a virtual road trip through the beautiful state of California. Here are some of my favorite places, I hope you enjoy! Follow along with the stars on the map to see where we’re off to!

Stop 1: Redwood National and State Parks – Spanning nearly 40 miles along the state and national parks here are home to some of the tallest trees in the world! It’s truly a humbling and surreal experience to visit and look up at the giant redwoods (here’s a photo with me in it for scale)!

pleasantonsignStop 2: Pleasanton, CA – This is where I was born! One of my favorite spots in town is the Meadowlark drive-through dairy, my family and I would stop by after a soccer or t-ball game to get soft serve ice cream! (here’s a photo with a giant ice cream for scale…kidding ☺)

Songee Barker Miss Golden ValleyStop 3: Mammoth Lakes – One of the best ski spots in the world! (I might be biased on that but after visiting Colorado this winter that claim checks out in my books!). For me to enjoy skiing takes a lot because I hate being cold so, if you’re looking for some great powder and a beautiful ski town be sure to check Mammoth out!

Stop 4: The Golden Valley  (aka the beautiful area I have the honor of representing this year!) – Located in California’s Central Valley, our state’s agricultural hub, where over 360 products are produced. The Golden Valley is sprouting with stunning groves and orchards that seem to go on as far as the eye can see! In addition to growing delicious produce and dairy, this area also grows some of the warmest and welcoming people I have ever met (this may be a personal bias, but it holds true!)

32327688_10211400245663280_1044742239177146368_nStop 5: Death Valley National Park – California is home to nine National Parks (I have been to five of them!). One of the most diverse and interesting is Death Valley, its Bad Water Basin is 282 ft below sea level, the lowest point in North America! Here you can find salt flats, mosaic rocks, sand dunes, and more! Just be sure to pack lots of water because the heat in Death Valley is intense!

Stop 6: Sandstone Peak – Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. You can take the Mishe Mokwa Trail, a beautiful six-mile hike, to get to the top. Once you’re there be sure to take in the view of the ocean and snap some pictures! When you’re done hiking you can take a quick drive out to the coast and relax at some famous Malibu Beaches! There is also a race every year long the Malibu coastline, that my family and I ran last year!

196498_1567004936480_5754683_n (2)Stop 7: Newport Beach – Newport Beach, CA is a wonderful place to catch some waves! It’s also where I had my first job at the historic Lido Regency movie theater! If you’re in Newport consider taking a surf lesson or catching a movie!

Stop 8: Belmont Park – Located in San Diego (also where my Miss California roommate is from, Hi Miss San Diego!) Belmont Park is home to one of the oldest wooden roller coasters! When I was young my family used to vacation here with our cousins and I vividly remember just barely being tall enough to ride the roller coaster (warning Baby Songee pic!)!

I hope you enjoyed my quick tour of California, from the North to the South this is a magnificent State! I love exploring this beautiful state and hopefully, you’re inspired to explore too! Thank you for reading along, I’ll see you in Fresno this June!

All the Best,

Songee Barker

Miss Golden Valley 2018

Lauren Herring | Miss Clovis

Miss-Clovis-Lauren-HerringHi, I’m Lauren Herring, Miss Clovis 2018! Since 1924 the Miss California Organization has been pumping out scholarship queens and childhood dreams. Since 2017 I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from this organization. Going into the program I only had a small idea of what I was getting myself into. No one can really explain the look in a small child’s eyes when they see a girl with big hair and a sparkly crown on their head, and no one can really explain how it will make you feel.

The four points of the crown are service, scholarship, style, and success. If I had to add a fifth S, it would be strength, because boy oh boy do you have to be strong for this job. You don’t realize the extent of your importance until you’re expected to show up and just be yourself. That’s the most admirable thing about this Organization, you get a sash and a crown and a nation-wide platform, just for being yourself. Not only that, but you get to be yourself and be an advocate for whatever you want.

Another unexplainable perk you won’t understand until post-crowning is how much you can impact the people you meet. I learned from Uncle Ben (Spider-Man reference) that with great power comes great responsibility. The second you put on that crown, you become the most convincing person in the room. As Miss Clovis I wanted my platform to be all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) STEM education and careers are important because these are the careers that dictate the way our world works. My platform also focuses on encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM to create a greater female presence within the STEM industry.

Women are important and what they can’t explain to you before become a title holder is that it’s the kids that make you feel most important. Beyond my personal platform is the MAO official platform, the Children’s Miracle Network. If you ever lose hope in humanity just know there’s 80 + queens with 80 + people behind them working to make sure every child has proper medical treatment.

What they can explain to you, is that these moments are special, so take lots of pictures. They can tell you that you’re going to make a lot of friends and these friends will stay with you throughout your lifetime. They can tell you that the year is short, and while I’ve only been Miss Clovis a few short months, they’ve been the quickest few months of my life.

I can tell you that this is so much more than what I expected, but so much more in the best possible way.

Tour LA with Sarell | Miss Hollywood

My name is Sarell Diamond and I am your Miss Hollywood 2018! As a Los Angeles native, I thought it was only right that I take you on a tour of some of my favorites parts of LA—the place I’ve called home for the past 24 years! And of course, with a little help of some Hollywood magic, you’ll find out some facts about me: where I graduated (Fight On), my community service platform, and how excited I am to compete for Miss California this June!

Enjoy ☺

Sarell, Miss Hollywood 2018

Here’s a glimpse of Sophia’s journey with the Miss America Organization and her platform of Cultural Appreciation!

Alyssa Scofield | Miss San Fernando Valley

Alyssa Scofield Miss San Fernando ValleyMy name is Alyssa Scofield and I am Miss San Fernando Valley 2018! I am so excited to represent this beautiful city in Fresno at Miss California come June. Through my title, I am able to promote my platform Knowledge is Power which works to promote education reform state wide. I graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education from Arizona State University and you can probably guess, education reform has always been a passion of mine. After graduating from ASU, I took a job as a full-time 5th grade teacher in an incredibly low income school district. I had 35 students in one classroom. As you can imagine the classroom was overcrowded and the amount of classroom supplies I had access to were incredibly scarce so I had to purchase my own. The air conditioning would constantly break, the kids did not have access to a school psychiatrist, and in some cases there were more children in classrooms than there were desks. All of my students families fell far below the poverty line and in some cases some of my students were even homeless. Every day when I got home I would constantly think about what more I could do for these amazing children. That’s when I really started working with my platform. Through Knowledge is Power I am able to communicate the importance of education to a wide range of individuals from teachers to politicians. In Los Angeles I worked in the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti as the chairwoman of the Mayors Youth Council. This amazing program not only focused on Education Reform, but also helped students get more involved in their community.  Through my title as Miss San Fernando Valley I am able to continue my fight for equal education regardless of race, gender, or socio economic status.

alyssa-Scofield-TalentThe Miss America program has also helped me live out another one of my passions. Dance! I have been dancing since the age of three and haven’t stopped since.I have danced in the AFL, NFL, and the NBA.  I love performing because I love to see others smile! Through the Miss America organization I have gained over $3000 in scholarships that helped me continue my passion for education and dance. I am eternally grateful for everything this organization has given me and can’t wait to continue my service as a local title holder!

Currently I am working in Los Angeles as an in home Education Therapist and in my free time, I also work as a cycling instructor. Physical fitness and eating healthy are also very important to me so I love to stay healthy and active!
Thank you for following along as I work to obtain my dream job! See you in Fresno!

Meet Miss Tustin, Raena Ramirez

My name is Raena Ramirez and I am Miss Tustin 2018! I chose to give you all a look into who I am and my journey through the Miss California Organization. From my platform to traveling to Disneyland- you can learn about my job aspirations, my athletic career, and why I am beyond ecstatic to represent the city of Tustin!

The Miss California Organization Elects New Board Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jessa Carmack

April 18, 2018 jessacarmack@misscalifornia.org

MISS CALIFORNIA ORGANIZATIONS ELECTS TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS

(FRESNO, CA) The Miss California Organization gathered for their annual orientation last weekend in Fresno, California. All 83 state finalists spent the weekend in meetings, workshops and meeting their fellow local titleholders. In addition to the contestant activities, the Miss California Board of Directors accepted two nominations to the Board. They are pleased to welcome two new board members, David Bonetto and Connie Oliver.

David-Bonetto-Miss-California-Board-of-DirectorsDavid Bonetto has over 45 years of multi-dance experience including training in tap, jazz, ballet, and numerous other facets of the arts. He has designed the performing arts program at DanceWorks Unlimited to build self-expression, mental and physical discipline, and personal motivation through the art of dance. Bonetto is on faculty at Fresno City College in the dance department and serves as a consultant to Fresno Unified School District conducting workshops and choreography. For the last 20 years, he has had an active role in the beauty and design industry as a visual artist and marketing director. In 2016, Bonetto sat on the judging panel for the Miss California competition.

Oliver_Connie_0304Connie Oliver is entering her 20th year in the Miss America Organization. Oliver began her volunteer work with the organization as the producer of the Miss Culver City Pageant. Since that time, she has served as the executive director of the Miss Culver City competition and spearheaded the beginning of various new local programs. Oliver has volunteered in many capacities with the organization, serving as prep chair for Miss California, sponsor chair, has been on the state staff for over 10 years and has judged state programs in Hawaii, Nevada, Washington and Oregon.

The 2018 Miss California & Miss California’s Outstanding Teen state finals preliminary competition will take place at the Saroyan Theatre in Downtown Fresno, June 27-29. Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2018 will be crowned on Friday, June 29th. Miss California 2018 will be crowned on Saturday, June 30th.

About the Miss California Organization:

The Miss California Scholarship Organization is a volunteer based 501c(3) non-profit organization which was founded in 1924. As the Official State Final to Miss America, the Miss California Organization has awarded more than $6 million in cash and academic scholarships Miss California Organization | since the competition made its home in Fresno in 1994. Nurturing an ideal of beauty that includes dignity, courage, intelligence, creative talent and kindness, the successful contestants demonstrate a genuine commitment to serving others. Every year the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California contestants make significant contributions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by raising funds and spreading awareness throughout the state. To learn more, visit misscalifornia.org.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissCAOrg

Instagram/Twitter: @MissCAOrg

Sherman College of Chiropractic Offers Scholarship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Contact: Jessa Carmack

April 24 , 2018 jessacarmack@misscalifornia.org

SHERMAN COLLEGE OF CHIROPRACTIC TO OFFER OVER $111,000 IN-KIND SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY TO MISS CALIFORNIA 2018

(FRESNO, CA) Sherman College of Chiropractic, a private college that offers the doctor of chiropractic degree located in Boiling Springs, South Carolina is partnering with the Miss California Organization to offer Miss California 2018 a full in-kind tuition waiver to attend the school.

The full in-kind tuition scholarship waver, holds a total value of more than $111,000. The tuition will be offered as a four year renewable scholarship.

“We are eager to reach more young leaders and share with them a healthcare career that embraces their commitment to serving other,” said Sherman College President Edwin Cordero, D.C., of the college’s partnership with the Miss California Organization. “I think it is especially fitting to join forces with an organization which shares our focus on service and our desire to make a positive global impact.”

The Miss California Organization is delighted to have Sherman College of Chiropractic as an in-kind tuition sponsor and is overjoyed that the next Miss California has the opportunity to continue her education in the field of chiropractic if she so chooses.

“We cannot thank Sherman College of Chiropractic enough for the scholarship opportunity they are providing Miss California 2018. It is extremely important to us that our titleholder has multiple paths to choose from for her future and we believe that a higher education with Sherman College would be exceptional,” Audrey Valles, VP of Development, Miss California Organization.

About the Miss California Organization:

The Miss California Scholarship Organization is a volunteer based 501c(3) non-profit organization which was founded in 1924. As the Official State Final to Miss America, the Miss California Organization has awarded more than $6 million in cash and academic scholarships Miss California Organization | since the competition made its home in Fresno in 1994. Nurturing an ideal of beauty that includes dignity, courage, intelligence, creative talent and kindness, the successful contestants demonstrate a genuine commitment to serving others. Every year the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California contestants make significant contributions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by raising funds and spreading awareness throughout the state. To learn more, visit misscalifornia.org.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissCAOrg

Instagram/Twitter: @MissCAOrg

About Sherman College of Chiropractic:

Sherman College provides students with a comprehensive chiropractic education, preparing them to enter the field as doctors of chiropractic who are highly skilled, compassionate, ethical and successful. On its 80-acre campus in South Carolina, Sherman offers a first professional degree program unique in its approach to health care and known globally for the skill and art of chiropractic delivered by graduates. Sherman College is one of just 18 chiropractic colleges in the United States and the only one in the Carolinas. For more information, visit www.sherman.edu or call 800-849-8771.

Account Me In- Miss Culver City

Monica Stainer Miss Culver CityHello Everyone!! I am Monica Stainer and I am a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Southern California working at a Big Four Accounting Firm. I am so excited to represent beautiful Culver City at Miss California this June!

As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to work in accounting or finance. I vividly remember waking up at 6:30am every morning, watching the Stock Market’s opening bell with my Dad, and naming off the companies in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ as the ticker symbols went by. There were definitely some interesting reactions when I was an elementary school girl saying that I wanted to be an accountant, rather than the typical response of a doctor, astronaut, or an actress; but I didn’t let that stop me. I wanted to prove that girls can be in finance too.

For Christmas, most teenagers ask for the newest iPhone, a car, or new clothes for school, but I asked for responsibility – I wanted my own credit card. I made a spreadsheet of my babysitting and tutoring earnings and proved to my parents that I could be responsible and pay for my meals and activities in-full every month. For Christmas that year, I was given a bag with an item that felt like a small piece of plastic. With extreme excitement, I opened the bag and found a $50 Gas Card. My parents told me to look for the lucky penny in the bag’s side pocket, which is a tradition my family engages in – and there it was – my own credit card! I quickly realized that this was not as glamorous as it seemed because I had to actively budget my spending, say “no” to costly luxuries, and meet payment deadlines, but I took pride in my responsibility (and haven’t missed a payment of the full balance to date!).Monica Stainer Miss Culver City

The following year, my childhood dreams started becoming a reality when I was accepted into the University of Southern California’s Leventhal School of Accounting as an Accounting Major, but my dreams were almost shattered when the reality of tuition started sinking in. Through the over $8,000 in scholarships I earned as Miss California’s Outstanding Teen, a rigorous academic course load and a lot of hard work, I was able to graduate from a five-year program (Accounting Degree with CPA Eligibility) in three-an-a-half years and was offered a full time job at a Big Four Accounting Firm.

Working in Corporate America, I’ve found that I still get interesting reactions when I tell people I’m an accountant – and now, that makes me proud. I am proud to be a woman in finance, proud to be auditing financial statements to validate that companies are reporting their financials accurately, proud to be participating in meetings with Corporate Controllers, CFOs, and CEOs, and most of all, proud of myself for achieving my goals and aiming higher for the future. I hope to continue breaking barriers and sharing my knowledge with younger generations just as my role models: Cathy Englebert, CEO of Deloitte, Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments (and my Commencement Speaker at USC), and Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet/Google, have shared.

Monica Stainer Miss Culver CityBecause both of my parents had experience in the finance industry, I learned to budget, watch my spending, avoid debt, and become financially independent at an early age. Unfortunately, not everyone has these resources and personal finance courses are also not required in our California schools under the current 2018 Standards. My parents were (and still are) my heroes, especially when it comes to finance, and I hope that I can use my personal and professional experience to be a financial hero for our youth through my platform, Banking on Our Future.  

Along with my success thus far, I’ve learned that my dreams are constantly evolving. How can I use my knowledge and experience to give back to our community and our youth? What if I used “Miss” and “Corporate” interchangeably, rather than just being a part of Corporate America?

They say, “Money Makes the World Go Around” and as Miss Culver City and in my many years beyond the Miss America Organization I will continue to serve and promote financial literacy through my platform and organizations like Operation Hope’s Banking on Our Future program, so the next generation can understand how we keep this beautiful world of ours turning.

Thank you all so much for reading and following my journey of how I selected my platform through Scholarship, Success, Service, and always with Style 😉

With Love,

Monica Stainer

Miss Culver City 2018

Western New Mexico University Welcomed as Sponsor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Contact: Jessa Carmack

April 19 , 2018 jessacarmack@misscalifornia.org

 

WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY TO PROVIDE IN-KIND TUITION SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES TO MISS CALIFORNIA ORGANIZATION

(FRESNO, CA) Western New Mexico University, a public university located in Silver City, New Mexico, will be joining the team of scholarship donors for the Miss California Organization.

The University will offer Miss California 2018 and the Top 5 of the competition, full tuition and on-campus housing, renewable over four years. Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and the Top 5 teen contestants will also receive full tuition and on-campus housing, renewable over four years.

The contestants must meet admissions requirements and apply within one year of graduating High School or completing their Bachelors program.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Western New Mexico University. The opportunity to have a higher education is one of the main pillars of our organization and it is universities like WNMU that make that happen for our contestants.,” Audrey Valles, VP of Development, Miss California Organization.

The 2018 Miss California & Miss California’s Outstanding Teen state finals preliminary competition will take place at the Saroyan Theatre in Downtown Fresno, June 27-29, 2018. Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2018 will be crowned on Friday, June 29th. Miss California 2018 will be crowned on Saturday, June 30th.

About the Miss California Organization:

The Miss California Scholarship Organization is a volunteer based 501c(3) non-profit organization which was founded in 1924. As the Official State Final to Miss America, the Miss California Organization has awarded more than $6 million in cash and academic scholarships Miss California Organization | since the competition made its home in Fresno in 1990. Nurturing an ideal of beauty that includes dignity, courage, intelligence, creative talent and kindness, the successful contestants demonstrate a genuine commitment to serving others. Every year the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California contestants make significant contributions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by raising funds and spreading awareness throughout the state. To learn more, visit misscalifornia.org.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissCAOrg

Instagram/Twitter: @MissCAOrg

About Western New Mexico University:

For 125 years, Western New Mexico University has served the people in its region as a comprehensive, rural, public body. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution and the state’s only public Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences University, WNMU is committed to developing cross-cultural opportunities that encourage people to explore new experiences. WNMU’s student body represents every segment of southwest New Mexico’s diverse population. Learn more about Western New Mexico University at wnmu.edu