The Multicultural Pageant was originally the vision of an FSCJ student, Stephanie Darilus, who was the Downtown Campus SGA president and International Club president during the 2011-2012 academic year. Stephanie is now a senior political science major at the University of Florida and the Program Development Specialist and Pageant Director at the Boys and Girls Club in Gainesville. Pageant director Anna Marie Siegel, FSCJ’s director of International Student Services, has worked to keep the pageant going each year. Unlike traditional pageants, MMP promotes cultural awareness and appreciation and encourages student leadership. In order to compete, participants are required to successfully complete a series of workshops on intercultural communication, poise and leadership styles prior to the pageant. The contestants are judged on their introduction, cultural attire, cultural talent and knowledge of their countries and cultures. This year’s program also included performances by Hannah Raven Burke a 13-year old opera singer, and the FSCJ’s South Campus DanceWorks troupe under the direction of Professor Talani Torres.
The 11 contestants in the 2014 MMP represented Haiti, El Salvador, France, Trinidad, Bangladesh, China, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Mauritania, USA and the Cherokee Indian Culture. They were students from three of the five campuses -- Downtown, North and Kent campuses. The top three contestants received 1st place $300, 2nd place $150 and 3rd place $75 and four tickets each to the Jaguar opening game. The winners of 2014 Miss Multicultural Pageant were 1st place XiaoJiao Wu representing China, 2nd place Alisha Lockley representing France and Tyra Clinton representing Cherokee Indian culture. This year’s program would not have been possible without the support of the Jacksonville Jaguars, FSCJ College Foundation and the FSCJ Downtown Campus Department of Student Life.
The Miss Multicultural pageant has become a signature event at Downtown campus and the event is poised to go college-wide in 2015. Clashous Witherspoon, Downtown Campus Student Life and Leadership Development Coordinator, stated that “The Miss Multicultural Pageant demonstrates that elegance and poise are traits present in all cultures.” There is not another college nearby that encourages and supports immigrant students who are not fully proficient in English to participate in student activities, alongside U.S. American students, like FSCJ does. The event is a great reminder of the rich diversity of culture at FSCJ, and how fortunate we are to experience and celebrate these differences. For more information on the Miss Multicultural Pageant and other International Club events please contact the advisor Anna Marie Siegel, Director of International Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (904) 632-3248.