Many communities around the state hold local pageants and the Crossroads area is no exception. From very young children and toddlers to the young adults, the pageant systems offer a way for young people to earn scholarships, gain confidence and represent their communities. Each year new royalty is crowned at these events and the participants begin their reign for their communities. For two such girls in the Victoria area, their role as royalty is just another way they are sharing their lives together.
Last June, Allyson (Ally) Graham and Ciara Tamez were crowned Miss Victoria and Little Miss Victoria respectively. But what makes this crowning unique is that these two girls have spent a great deal of their time together long before this pageant took place. Ally is the nanny for Ciara and has been so for several years. Ciara is the eight year old daughter of Mark and Denise Tamez of Victoria and she is a student at Our Lady of Victory and Ally is the daughter of William and Leslee Graham and is a graduate of East High School. Currently she is a student at Victoria College studying to be a teacher. “Everybody was floored.” States Mark Tamez concerning the announcing of these two girls winning in their categories. “They did so well. We were so proud of them…they are just like sisters.”
Since the crowning at the pageant, things have gotten busy, not just for the girls but for the parents as well. Mark has volunteered to drive the float to all the different events in which the girls participate. With the help of the other parents they get the job done from town to town. In every city that the Victoria float has participated, they have won first place. “The girls really got to experience being in front of people and have done quite a few events, fashion shows and bridal shows.” These two girls are doing all these things together. Since the pageant, the girls have participated in over eight parades with much more to come. “This was all Ally’s idea.” States Denise. Ally told Ciara’s parents that she was going to do the pageant and suggested that they let Ciara participate as well.
Both girls have a wide range of interests. Ally likes to help the community and last summer she participated in a mission trip to Nicaragua to volunteer in various churches there. She is currently volunteering as a mentor at one of the local middle schools. She is also working to set up a book drive. Ciara plays the guitar and piano, dances and takes acting lessons. Ciara and her parents recently went to Houston to interview for an acting coach and manager for commercials and professional acting.
Participating in a pageant of this type and winning can be a tremendous learning experience. For Ciara at the age of eight, she has already gained new insight. “I think she kind of knows a little bit more now not to take things for granted.” States Denise. Ciara’s parents praise the efforts of pageant director Debbie Bennett Green for doing such a great job with the girls. All the girls had to choose a platform. Ciara’s platform was diabetes and Ally’s platform was helping in special education. “It’s a learning experience.” States Mark Tamez. “It wasn’t about who was the prettiest, but who could present themselves, communicate well and be able to communicate to the community and get the point across of sharing and helping others.” What have the parents learned? “First off, we learned that our daughter is not shy.” States Mark Tamez. “We are very, very happy about how everything turned out.”
The girls will give up their crowns this summer at the next pageant. Through this experience, both girls will have gained an experience together that few others get the chance to enjoy. The Miss Victoria Pageant is locally owned and operated by Debbie Bennett Green. Debbie has been directing the pageant since 1991.
All photos by Christine Bazan of Captured Moments by Christine. http://www.capturedmomentsbychristine.com/
Story by Carolyn Mann Morehead.