By Valerie Shelton | Editor
A group of talented young Clovis ladies were aglow with glitz and glamour during the 2016 Miss Clovis Scholarship Pageant held Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Mercedes Edwards Theater.
A total of 14 contestants—seven Miss Clovis contenders and seven Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen contenders—showed their talent, poise, intelligence and most stunning dresses at this year’s pageant.
In the end, it was Elise Barco, 18, a student an engineering student at Fresno State, who won the coveted Miss Clovis 2016 crown and a $2,000 scholarship.
Barco blew judges away with her jazz dance to Lauren Hill’s “Feeling Good.”
Her response to the question “What has this pageant taught you?” also helped clinch her win.
“This pageant has taught me that all girls are unique and beautiful in their own way and bring something different to the table but you have to be confident in who you are as a person and not compare yourself to other people,” Barco said.
Barco’s platform is “Generation of Genius: Women in the Workforce” and her goal is to encourage more girls to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
The other big winner of the night was Danae Manibog who was crowned Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen 2016, earning a $1,000 scholarship.
For her talent, Manibog sang a beautiful rendition of Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love.” Her question was “Who is your role model and why?” to which she responded that her mom, Dina, is her inspiration.
Manibog said her experience with the pageant was “nerve-wracking but positive.”
“It feels amazing,” she said. “It is hard to grasp everything right now, but I’m looking forward to my year as Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen.
Manibog’s platform is the Clovis Youth Sports Closet.
“I’ll be promoting the donation of used athletic equipment so that everyone who wants to can pursue their passions in athletics no matter what their economic situation,” Manibog said. “There are many kids who have to endure financial hardships and their families can’t afford all the equipment needed to participate in certain sports. I’ve been in a lot of sports myself. I love the feeling of being part of a team—it is a joy and everyone should be able to experience that. No one should be left out because they can’t buy the equipment.”
Manibog currently participates in track and cross country, but she has also participated in wrestling, tennis, swim, soccer, takwando and kickboxing.
“I’ve already collected some gear for wrestling and softball and I’ve contributed to it myself as well, donating some of my old equipment,” Manibog said. “I’m going to go out and get the word of mouth out there as much as possible. I’m going to start by working with the Marjaree Mason Center and collecting the donations for the girls there and then I want to expand the program to the elementary schools and high schools. I don’t want there to be any limitations, so if there is a kid who is homeschooled and needs equipment to participate in a community sport I want to help them too. It is open to everyone.”
While new queens were crowned, there were also a couple bittersweet moments at the pageant as the 2015 Miss Clovis Taylor Coloka and 2015 Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen Kiley Barton said their goodbyes. Barton sang “Flashlight” from the movie “Pitch Perfect” and Coloka gave a final dance as Miss Clovis.
“This year has helped me grow,” Barton said. “I will forever be grateful for the experiences I had during my year as Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen that not only introduced me to so many of our wonderful city residents but gave me so many once in a lifetime opportunities. If I’ve learned one thing during my time as Miss Clovis Outstanding Teen, it’s that you can do much more than you let yourself think. One of my most life-changing experiences during my year was spent at the Miss California pageant…I met so many amazing contestants that I now consider friends. I gained confidence and poise, wisdom and humility and those experiences will serve me for a lifetime.”
Coloka said she will forever cherish her time serving as a role model and promoting her platform, First Book.
“This year has allowed people to see my heart and I will be forever grateful to the representatives of the City of Clovis,” Coloka said. “I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with many organizations. I loved volunteering for the Children’s Miracle Network, First book, Reading Park, Relay for Life, the Marjaree Mason Center, Valley Children’s Hospital and the Make A Wish Foundation. The best part of my year was the work I did with my personal platform First Book, a national organization that works to address illiteracy in America. I worked with Fresno State’s chapter to start a library. I organized a children’s book festival at A Book Barn in Clovis, which raised money and books for children at the Marjaree Mason Center and I visited and read to over 20 classrooms in Clovis Unified. It has been a rewarding experience to be able to inspire so many young children to focus on their education and love to read.”