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Stepping Into A New Tradition

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Posted: Friday, October 12, 2018 9:12 am

Mary Jane Trent, retiring Executive Director of the Miss Homestead Scholarship Foundation, could speak volumes about her involvement with the organization for more than two decades. It is easier to sum up though with, “How rewarding it’s been for me to work with these young women as they pursue their dreams.” Her comment comes as the transition is being completed where future Miss Homesteads will be part of the Miss South Florida organization.

The all-volunteer board of the local foundation has met and mentored literally hundreds of young women who have competed in the various pageants and gone on to futures enhanced by their individual and collective experiences. Board members fondly recall Sandy Basom and Margaret Gooding who have passed away and reminisce about what they have all contributed to and gained from the years together. The current group of Evelyn McLean, Mary Jane Trent, Wanda Brown, Judy Turner, Blossom Grant, Joyce Wood, Brittany Berrones Falco, and Lisa DeLeon will be moving on to other projects. Amber Woods and Brittany Hubbard will join the board of the Miss South Florida.

Myrna Cotto, Executive Director of Miss South Florida, bridges the two groups. She began in the Miss Homestead Scholarship Foundation in 1995 serving as a chaperone and later started to help with the judges. Before long, she became secretary of the foundation and chairperson of the judges. Then she was treasurer until 2010 when she joined Bea Meza who decided to open a separate pageant under the name of Miss South Florida. As Cotto likes to quote from Barbara Mikulski, "Each of us can make a difference. Together we make a change".

Despite change, the common thread for young women and teens will be the excitement of competing in open pageants for the titles of Miss South Florida, Miss Florida Everglades, Miss Homestead, and Miss South Florida Outstanding Teen. The winners will also be eligible for state competitions. (The exact number of teen titles will be announced at a later time.)

Although there are significant time requirements in fulfilling their duties if crowned, contestants will have already demonstrated their understanding of the obligations.

“The program focuses on community service, providing a mentoring and leadership opportunity for young women to become role models in their community. Being a titleholder of the Miss South Florida Pageant is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You become part of a sisterhood of amazing women and will be a part of history forever. There are many events throughout the year that the titleholders participate such as parades, fashion shows, red carpet events, charity fundraisers, etc. We also encourage our titleholders to go above and beyond to volunteer with their platforms and assist with organizations that they are passionate about.”

Trent knows how often Miss Homestead is requested for appearances and that isn’t likely to change. “Support we get every year from the community has always been and will continue to be greatly appreciated,” she said.

For more information, --contact; Tel: 305.753.1224 or see

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