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California State University, Long Beach
E O P Insider, A Newsletter by the Educational Opportunity Program
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The Princess of Cerritos

Stephanie Agudo is a liberal studies major who plans to participate in the CSULB commencement ceremonies this spring and plans to complete her student teaching and degree requirements in fall 2008. Her future plans include teaching at a low income elementary school and eventually returning to CSULB to pursue her master's in educational administration and credential for administration. She dreams of one day becoming a principal. This past year she participated in the Miss Cerritos contest and won the title of “Miss Cerritos Princess.”

I entered the Miss Cerritos contest because I wanted a chance to meet business professionals who could possibly help me in the future. I also wanted to have the experience of learning what it takes to be successful in the business arena. I am not a business major, but I feel that is very important to learn what it takes to be successful in any profession. In addition, the title of Miss Cerritos comes with a scholarship.

In order to participate in the Miss Cerritos Contest, one must live, work, go to school in Cerritos (Cerritos College) or work for a Cerritos chamber member. Candidates also must be a high school graduate, a U.S. citizen, single with no children and under 27 years of age. Interested candidates must submit a personal statement and complete a brief application regarding background, education, awards, goals, employment and volunteer experiences. Candidates are then invited to an interview and a professional business mixer in which the judges are anonymous. Contestants are required to give a speech about why they would like be selected as Miss Cerritos. Judges are looking for poise, attitude, mixing ability, speaking ability, professional conduct and overall character. The new Miss Cerritos and Miss Cerritos Princess are then crowned and given a sash by the outgoing queen and princess.

The process was a great experience for me - the experience of a lifetime. I loved being a part of something that I honestly never thought that I would get to do. I was nervous at times, but I enjoyed every minute of the interviews and the contest. I met so many business contacts that day. I also feel as though I have achieved an increased self-confidence because of the different ways we had to present ourselves when competing. Writing about oneself is very different than doing an interview or a speech. My favorite part of the process was mixing with the guests. Once crowned, Miss Cerritos and I began attending monthly luncheons, business mixers, participating in ribbon cuttings and grand openings.

Stephanie Agudo

Stephanie Agudo

I have truly benefited from this experience because I have grown since the first day of becoming
Miss Cerritos Princess. I have grown in the areas of self-confidence, business sense, professional etiquette and speaking abilities. This experience will help me in the future because not only have I met others who could possibly help me achieve my dream of becoming a teacher, I personally have learned about myself and know that I am ready to go out into the world and get a great job.

If anyone is interested in entering a similar competition, I say do it! Put yourself out there. You never know what might happen. When you have an opportunity, seize it because some opportunities may only come once and if you’re lucky maybe twice, but the benefits are more than you could possibly imagine. If anyone meets the qualifications for Miss Cerritos this year, applications are submitted during the month of February. Please contact the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce at (562)467-0800.