This year’s Miss Unlimited Pageant grew bigger by having three catholic schools work together to run the pageant to offer girls and women with disabilities to show their beauty. Students from St. Ignatius College Preparatory, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, and Carondelet High School, all based in San Francisco, volunteered to run this year’s second annual pageant.
Student volunteers implemented arts and crafts and other activities, served as buddies, and handled the food for the reception. Students do learn from volunteering at this unique event, established by SI chemistry teacher Michelle Wynn.
For example, Katrina Keating was one of the SI volunteers who volunteered for the second time this year. “The Miss Unlimited pageant gave me new insights about the importance of leadership. Leadership comes from divine inspiration, passion, dedication and courage. St. Ignatius’ Prayer of Generosity explains what it means to be a leader: to give and not to count the cost…save that of knowing that I’m doing [God’s] will,” said Katrina, remembering the Jesuits’ motto, Ad Maorem De Glorium, for the greater glory of God.
“Miss Wynn has inspired a new generation of St. Ignatius students to follow her example of following the Pastoral Cycle in the service of God. I try to live out her example in everything I do,” said Katrina. “At times the overwhelming love during the pageant moved me to tears because I felt God’s presence. The pageant brings people together and celebrates inner beauty and, as (pageant participant) Mara Clancy said, helps everyone involved remember that they are princesses inside and out in God’s eyes.”
Additionally, another SI volunteer, Mara Sylvia, learned a lot about beauty and it’s definition and perception in today’s society. “This pageant has helped me to see the beauty and talent in everyone. I also see the effects of this stereotypical “beauty” on the contestants and hope that our pageant also helps them realize their beauty,” Mara said.
This matches Wynn’s goal of showing that girls and women with disabilities also have beauty to share. “This pageant helps me grow as a Catholic because it really relays the message of each individuals importance and our obligation to helping one another. Often today we are told beauty and wealth are the most important things over God, but with this pageant we defy this fact and show that everyone has beauty and love from God.”
Additionally, the 16 participants performed in front of judges: Miss Silicon Valley Melissa Bowling; Sarah Meakin, executive director of the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program; San Francisco Police Department Deputy Chief Garret Tom; Olympic Gold Medalist Heather Petri; and Miss West Coast Natalie Duvalsaint.
Read more about the 2015 pageant here: http://www.catholic-sf.org/ns.php?newsid=16&id=63562.