LIHUE — Deanna Rapozo topped a field of nine contestants to become the 2012 Miss Kaua‘i Filipina before a near-capacity audience Saturday night at Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.
“Although you are all winners, only one can be crowned 2012 Miss Kaua‘i Filipina,” said Charlmaine Suero Bulosan, chair of Fiesta Filipina and vice president of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council, who presented the 54th annual Miss Kaua‘i Filipina Scholarship Pageant to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. “It takes courage and perseverance to run in a pageant such as this, and I applaud all of you for your commitment.”
En route to her crown, Rapozo, who graduated from Kaua‘i High School last week, earned honors for best in speech, terno phase, for her interpretation of “Decide Your Destiny,” this year’s pageant theme. She also captured the judges’ hearts, earning best in swimsuit.
Rapozo, whose goal is to become an elementary school teacher in order to pass along the culture and tradition to the younger generation, traces her Philippine origin on her mother Isabela’s side to Ilocos Norte.
First runner-up honors were bestowed to Shyanne Sadora, another 2012 graduate of Kaua‘i High who plans to pursue a career in speech pathology, communications or entrepreneurship. She earned awards as most photogenic, the MKF Spirit Award for the most tickets sold, and the most beautiful terno, her traditional Filipino gown effectively melding the Filipino and Hawaiian cultures with her sampaguita, known in Hawai‘i as the pikake, or jasmine, done in a unique Hawaiian quilt style.
The importance of the first runner-up crown was defined by emcees Michael Dahilig and Jayna Shaffer, a former Miss Kaua‘i Filipina in 2010, when the reigning queen, Nicholette Levinthol, finished as first runner-up in 2011 and stepped into the queen’s position after Topaz Fernandez, the 2011 Miss Kaua‘i Filipina, was named Miss Hawai‘i Filipina at the state convention.
Rapozo will represent Kaua‘i at this year’s state convention on the Big Island starting July 28.
Christina Pico, who graduated from Kapa‘a High School last week, earned the second runner-up title. Samantha Sasan, wowing the audience with her elegant terno, was crowned the third runner-up, securing awards in best in talent and best in interview en route to her title.
Siarah Perreira, breaking away from her traumatic childhood conveyed by her powerful contemporary dance number during the talent phase, was named the fourth runner-up.
Crystal Tangalin, graduating with Pico from Kapa‘a High, was voted the most congenial, and Laurie Ann Tamayo secured the MKF Spirit Award for most ads sold.
Argosy University, the Hawai‘i campus of which is located in Honolulu, provided $15,000 in scholarships, distributed to the entire field, and the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council presented more than $24,000 in cash awards.
“The nine young ladies will showcase another exciting pageantry which has successfully resulted in funding the scholarship program of the KFCC,” said Jimmy Iloreta, president of KFCC. “These young ladies are not only vying for the title, but also in pursuit of educational and personal development this pageant may provide them.”
Gov. Neil Abercrombie in his message said events such as the Miss Kaua‘i Filipina Scholarship Pageant recognizes the importance of perpetuating cultural traditions and providing young women with essential life skills that will contribute to their long-term success.