The 2010-11 Miss and Jr. Miss Salt River High School passed on their crowns to new 2011-12 royalty on Friday, February 17. Families and friends of the contestants, Prairie Snow Ramirez, Alia Shaw and Dakota Loring, and the now-former royalty, Miss Salt River High School Angelica Gonzales and Jr. Miss Salt River High School Ophelia Gonzalez, gathered to say farewell to the former reigning title holders and to watch the talents and the results of the newly titled crown holders.
The pageant began with the traditional ceremonies, posting of the colors by the Salt River High School JROTC, the national anthem sung in the O’odham language by Angelica Gonzales, and the invocation by Miss Salt River Devanie Duwyenie.
Junior Miss Salt River High School contestant Prairie Snow Ramirez, 14, introduced herself, wearing as her contemporary outfit a deep-purple dress with a white jacket to cover her shoulders, and accents of jewelry. Ramirez is the daughter of Susan Threeiron and Elias Ramirez; her hobbies include beading, both traditional and modern singing and dancing, judo, taekwondo, volleyball, cheerleading and softball.
Miss Salt River High School contestant Alia Shaw wore a full-length chiffon aqua/royal/baby-blue gown. Shaw is the daughter of Shannon Shaw and the late Joseph Shaw. She enjoys playing volleyball, softball and basketball; she is also a certified scuba diver and underwater photographer. She also enjoys playing piano and singing with the choir at Salt River High School and performing with the Salt River Traditional Dancers and the Bird Singing and Dancing by the River dance groups.
Miss Salt River High School contestant Dakota Loring wore a sparkling-white long evening gown with gold jewelry to accent. Loring is 15 years old and is the daughter of Crystal Loring and Shawn Johnson. She is the current staff sergeant for the Salt River High School JROTC and is currently seeking a higher rank before she graduates. Her hobbies include participating in JROTC, reading, writing, playing basketball, boxing and participating in mixed martial arts. She someday hopes to run for Miss Indian Arizona and run for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Tribal Council when she “reaches a good age and wisdom.”
After their evening gown and introduction presentations, the contestants changed for their talent presentations, which demonstrated either a traditional or modern talent. During the break, the audience was entertained with music from singer and musician Scott Jeffers of Traveler.
For her talent, Ramirez performed a traditional bird dance accompanied by traditional Piipaash singers. Shaw performed a traditional bird dance as well, with traditional singers to accompany her too. Loring knows laughter is the best medicine; she performed stand-up comedy for her talent.
The girls changed into their traditional wear for their final task of the night: walking on stage to show off their traditional regalia and answering an impromptu question.
Ramirez chose to represent her Piipaash heritage by wearing a three-piece bird camp dress. She was asked, “What issues you see facing Salt River High School students?”
In her answer, Ramirez brought up the concern of youth bringing a negative attitude to school, causing a number of fights. “The fighting is not helping,” she said. “School is a place that is supposed to be safe, [where students can] have fun and learn; [it’s not a place] to bring people down.”
Shaw chose to represent her O’odham Himdak by wearing a traditional one-piece O’odham wraparound dress. She was asked, “How important is your student government?”
“Student Council always puts on a lot of activities. They are important because they are the people you can look up to and [who] make decisions and have leadership; I think they are very important to the school,” said Shaw.
Loring wore a traditional White Mountain Apache Tribe camp dress for her traditional wear. She was asked, “How important is your culture to you, and why?”
“My culture is very important to me; it’s been taught to me since I was born. My grandmother and family from Whiteriver would come out and dance around the fire, [and] it is something that has always inspired me,” said Loring as she answered. “My culture … shows who we are, and it’s something that we have to keep in our lives; my culture is what defines me.”
After a what felt like forever for some audience members, the awards presentation was finally under way and the awards were announced.
The Congeniality Award, chosen by all the girls and given to the contestant who is the most helpful, friendliest and most pleasant to be around, went to Alia Shaw.
The overall Talent Award also went to Alia Shaw, who scored the highest in the talent portion of the pageant. The Poise Award went to Alia Shaw for demonstrating excellent poise on stage. The Dress Award went to Dakota Loring for her beautiful evening wear. The Public Speaking award went to Alia Shaw for displaying excellent public speaking on stage. The final award went to Dakota Loring for her answer to the impromptu question.
The title of 2012-13 Jr. Miss Salt River High School went to Prairie Snow Ramirez, 2012-13 Miss Salt River High School First Attendant went to Dakota Loring, and the title of 2012-13 Miss Salt River High School went to Alia Shaw.
“It feels amazing, and I’m really glad that I won; l look forward to being involved with the Community again,” said Shaw after she was crowned as the new Miss Salt River High School.