Shortly after she was crowned, the 16-year-old Patterson High senior still seemed perplexed by the decision, and acted humbly as she credited everyone, including her court, regarding her new title.
Bristow, daughter of Julie and John Bristow, specifically thanked her parents and sisters for their unwavering support throughout the competition’s trials, and felt they were the sole force that drove her to win.
“I am so honored by everyone I’ve worked with,” said Bristow, a PHS Ambassador and volleyball enthusiast. “I owe all my success to my parents and sisters. They told me that everything would work out fine, and now I get to represent (Patterson).”
Following close behind in the scoring process was first runner-up Morgan Maring, 17, daughter of Matt and Lynn Maring, and second runner-up Heavin Olmos, 17, daughter of Cory and Larry Olmos.
Each of the 12 Miss Patterson finalists were judged on points achieved throughout a three-month process of personal growth and development as well as their final presentation during Friday evening’s proceedings.
The role of Miss Congeniality, however, is chosen by the finalists themselves. Melissa Tenorio, 17, daughter of Laura and Joe Tenorio, was chosen as Miss Congeniality by her fellow peers in the contest. Tenorio, a dance assistant and cheer captain, said being chosen by her fellow competitors was indescribable, as well as surprising.
Members of the community as well as friends and family of the finalists packed around the manicured stage throughout the evening with handmade signs and t-shirts to cheer on their favorite contestant.
The girls kicked off the evening with a light, upbeat dance number before being introduced in the swimsuit category to demonstrate poise and confidence. Master of ceremonies Pat Dooley led the evening’s accounts alongside co-host Stephanie Barraza.
After a short break, featuring a performance by the San Jose-based country duo Ryan and CeCe, the young women re-emerged in evening gowns to answer questions that were given to each girl an hour before the on-stage interview.
When asked why she was driven to go to school for criminal justice and psychology, Bristow said she is interested in the world of today, and wants to know the reasons why society functions the way that it does.
Other candidates also discussed their interests, both in and outside of school.
First runner-up Maring, a senior at Central Catholic High School, said she wanted to study Kinesiology and was specifically asked to discuss her family during the interview process.
“Agriculture brought my family to Patterson over 50 years ago and I am so blessed to have grown up in such a large family,” said Maring. “Their constant support throughout the good and bad times has shaped me into the person I am today.”
Later, finalist America Nunez, 16, said she intended to major in English at the University of Maryland, and enjoyed working with the youth by coaching basketball at Sacred Heart Catholic School.
Each girl brought a new perspective and community service initiative to the finalist circle, and offered a series of contributions to the West Side in their resume.
Pageant chair Teresa Valentine said it was important to choose someone who would carry the Miss Patterson title with dignity, as well as commit to a full year of service as an ambassador and representative of the Patterson community.
She also said an undisclosed number of girls applied to participate in this year’s pageant before a board of non-Patterson residents narrowed the competition down to 12 finalists.
The judges were then asked to rank finalists on a 100-point system with three distinct categories.
Forty percent of the score was based on how they conducted themselves during interviews at a wine and cheese event run by Preceptor Xi Phi sorority the previous week.
Another 40 percent was based on the evening gown portion of Friday’s pageant, including confidence and the way in which contestants handled an interview question with the judge.
The final 20 percent was based on poise, confidence and fitness shown during the swimwear portion of Friday’s program.
Just before last year’s court crowned the reigning winners, Miss Patterson 2013 Molly McGarry spoke about the importance of representing the community. She fondly remembered the time spent on the very stage as a candidate, as well as some memorable moments during her reign.
When asked what advice she’d give to the next young lady who takes her crown, McGarry said with a laugh, “Borrow a lot of dresses from friends, be punctual and be available. Oh, and comfy shoes.”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, firstname.lastname@example.org.