Jessica Ortega is not only a winner out on the softball field, but she also shines on stage. She was crowned the 2008 Miss La Verne on Jan. 12.
“I was in complete shock,” Ortega said.
“ I didn’t think I was going to win, but it was honestly so rewarding.”
Ortega, a junior speech communication major, is more than just your typical all-American girl.
As the middle child of five siblings, Ortega enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping and even finds the time to play on La Verne’s softball team.
“She has such a positive attitude,” her softball teammate Karina Ortiz said.
“Whenever someone is down, she’s always there to lift you up.”
This was the second year that Ortega participated in the Miss La Verne pageant.
Last year, her upbeat personality and sense of humor earned her the Miss Congeniality award.
The 2007 Miss La Verne Lauren Moon enjoyed watching her grow over the last 12 months.
“She’s genuinely kind and has an amazing personality,” Moon said.
“This year she was able to lead the other girls and help them with their pageant too.”
“Not only is she kind, but she is so eager and really has a passion for this pageant,” Moon said. “She’s going to do a wonderful job.
As Miss La Verne, Ortega is required to have a platform. And it only makes sense that she ties in her love with animals with her beliefs.
She has chosen animal awareness education as her platform.
“I think it’s important for kids to understand how to take care of their animals correctly,” Ortega said.
“Kids think tails are for pulling and sometimes can be rough, so I just want to show them to be caring.”
Ortega has three cats and three dogs.
During the talent portion of the competition Ortega tied in her love with animals as she gave the audience a two-minute comedic monologue.
She dressed up as a middle-aged housewife who is crazy about her four cats.
“I chose the monologue because I couldn’t play softball on stage,” Ortega said.
“Also I can’t sing and dance, but I do love the limelight and making people laugh.”
One day, Ortega hopes to teach second grade or become a speech pathologist.
Her studies in the classroom and hard work out on the softball field, as well as keeping her obligations as Miss La Verne keep this 20-year-old quite busy.
Ortega heavily relies on her handy day planner to help her keep organized with her full schedule of daily activities and events.
“The key to balancing it all is commitment and drive,” Moon said.
“And she really has a passion for the pageant and what she is doing.”
In June Ortega will move forward and compete in the Miss California pageant held in Fresno.
“I’m more nervous about the Miss California Pageant because it is on a broader spectrum,” Ortega said.
In June, Ortega will be participating in the Miss California Pageant and competing against 40 other young contestants. The stakes are higher and the competition is harder.
However, if Jessica shows her competitiveness and poise the way she does on the field and at school, she should have no problem of possibly bringing home another title.
Jennifer Gilderman can be reached at email@example.com.