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Cinco de Mayo festivities in Westmorland rooted in migrant program

May 05, 2001|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

WESTMORLAND — "I was so nervous," said Izabeth Del Real, 13, of Westmorland moments before she was crowned Cinco de Mayo queen here Friday.

Izabeth and five other girls competed in the annual event that is part of Cinco de Mayo festivities organized by the Westmorland Union Elementary School's migrant program.

Many in this small but closeknit community gathered to see students from the local elementary and middle schools dance various folkloric dances.

Veronica Robles' second-grade class from Westmorland Union Elementary School was the first to take the stage.

Despite some setbacks, the young students drew a big applause from the crowd.

"They did very well even though some students didn't show up and I had to change the dance a little right before the performance," said Robles.

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After the folkloric performance, a Mariachi group was scheduled to perform but failed to show.

That didn't deter some children who started dancing to the music broadcast via loud speakers.

After the crowd sampled the Mexican food being sold at the fiesta, they awaited the crowning of the queen.

Izabeth and fellow contestants Maggie Diaz, Alma Sanchez, Yesenia Rodriguez and Gina Nava took to the stage.

The winner was the one that sold the most raffle tickets for items that were raffled at the fiesta.

From least to most, the girls were called out for the amount of tickets they sold.

In the end, Izabeth and Yesenia, 14, were the last two remaining.

"I was nervous when I was up there with her," said Yesenia after the coronation.

Yesenia's name was announced as runner-up and the crowd cheered knowing Izabeth would be the queen.

"I was a little disappointed because I wanted to win, but I was happy for her," said Yesenia.

Izabeth said, "I was relieved and happy."

She thanked her aunt Gloria Barambila for helping her win the crown.

Interim Westmorland school Superintendent Linda Morse was pleased by the turnout.

"The migrant program is one of the most active and supported groups in the city," Morse said.

Of the pageant, she said: "It's exciting and I'm pleased to see the girls are participating. It's something they look forward to and the parents get as nervous as them."

Police Athletic League secretary Sonia Castañeda said, "It's great to see the community coming together.

"Despite being a small crowd you can tell everyone had fun. You don't have to be a big town to have fun."

Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3435.

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