If you didn’t know any better, you would think Beyonce herself was at Temecula Valley High School Wednesday, Nov. 13.
However, the thunderous ovations given to the performers on stage at TVHS’s Golden Bear Theater were much more meaningful than those typically given to a worldwide superstar.
The decibel-busting applause was for the 22 students participating in the annual Miss Marvelous – an event that recognizes and showcases girls who live with physical and mental challenges at all three of Temecula Valley Unified School District high schools.
Showing bravery and sometimes grit and determination, the girls smiled, waved and performed in front of a welcoming, encouraging crowd all night long.
The event itself consisted of a formal wear segment, a talent segment and ends with a group dance that all the girls participate in.
Started by a Great Oak High School student in 2012, the event is almost entirely run by student representative volunteers involved in each of the schools’ WSB or ASB programs with the supervision of school staff members Traci Kofler Don Skaggs, Alicia Brennen and Terese Estrada.
This year’s judges included Temecula city councilmember Maryann Edwards, Dilene Pulsipher and Karrin Smith – who picked winners in each of the categories, ensuring that every girl left with a title in hand.
“This is an event I look forward to every year,” Edwards said before taking her seat. “It is just amazing, heartwarming and incredibly fun.”
This year, 22 contestants from all three schools participated, guided and helped along the way by the more than two dozen student peers from their respective schools.
Rebecca Ramiento, Daeja White and Camryn Clausen represented Temecula Valley High School.
Great Oak High School students Laila Clark, Emily Avila, Morgan Gibson, Ashlyn Hutchinson, Zoe Griffith, Morgan Teagno, Tahira Bashir, Lily English and Jayda Hunter participated.
Jena Wilemon, Ryla Espneli, Jordan Henderson, Jovanna Ibarra, Kylee Hosking, Samantha Martinez, Faith Bailes, Nadia Engert and Kaylee Colville all participated from Chaparral High School.
At the start of the night, each girl was introduced, meeting in the middle of the stage before being escorted by one or sometimes two male students looking sharp in tuxedos.
As each young lady reached the front of the stage to roaring applause and encouragement, all the students would pose and dance with smiles and grins that tugged at the heart of everyone in attendance.
Later, each student had a chance to display their talents, many of which included singing and dancing with one young lady choosing to display her cooking talents in a video.
Again, each was met with thunderous applause.
When all the talent performances were over, the group got together for an uplifting dance performance that brought the audience to its feet.
“It was another one for the books,” Kofler said after the event. “You walk away with such a feel-good feeling after you watch these young ladies’ performances. This is a night many of us look forward to year after year.
“One of my favorite parts of Miss Marvelous is just sitting back and watching our WSB students engage with our special needs population,” Kofler said.
The money raised by ticket sales is distributed amongst all three schools’ Special Education funds to help pay for the Miss Marvelous Prom in the spring, according to Kofler.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at email@example.com.