Moon shines as Miss La Verne

Taking the title of Miss La Verne 2007, ULV senior Lauren Marie Moon is crowned and presented with a pendant from Sigal Diamonds, a local jewelry store. Moon now advances to represent La Verne in the Miss California Pageant in Fresno. / photo by Leah Heagy
Taking the title of Miss La Verne 2007, ULV senior Lauren Marie Moon is crowned and presented with a pendant from Sigal Diamonds, a local jewelry store. Moon now advances to represent La Verne in the Miss California Pageant in Fresno. / photo by Leah Heagy

In a ceremony that saw five beautiful and talented women from the University of La Verne compete for the title of Miss La Verne 2007, it was senior political science and Spanish major Lauren Moon who wound up winning the hearts of the judges and the crowd Saturday night.

The event began roughly 15 minutes after the scheduled 7 p.m. start time, with executive director and 1999 Miss La Verne Dana El-Mahmoud introducing the contestants, followed by the master of ceremonies, Mayor Pro Temp Don Kendrick, who in turn introduced the judges and the auditors who would tally the judges’ votes.

Then came the first phase of the pageant, the Lifestyle and Fitness competition. After the contestants had all taken their turns on stage, the focus shifted to the considerably younger ladies of Dance Central performing an energetic number to the tune of the Pat Benatar classic “Heartbreaker “ (or at least a considerably shortened version thereof).

The little ones were followed by budding comedian Tom Vrab.

Next up for the five contenders was the casual wear portion, which also included each contestant drawing a random question out of a bowl, which they then gave to Kendrick to read and then answered. Judges noted the contestants’ poise, speaking, and of course the content of their answers.

Outgoing Miss La Verne Sandy Fernandez, who graduated from ULV last month with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, then gave a taste of what to expect from the talent competition with a mariachi performance on violin.

But before this year’s contestants took the stage for the talent competition, the audience was treated to more comedy, this time from 2006 ULV graduate Yesel “Yak “ Manrique. After the laughter subsided, the talent competition, comprising a full 35 percent of the overall score, began in earnest.

First up was Erma Rodriguez on the piano. She was followed by Alexis Moreno performing a monologue about breasts – talk about fun for the whole family – who was in turn followed by an energetic dance number from an equally energetic Christina Ann Boland.

Rounding out the competition were a second monologue and second dance, courtesy of Jessica Ortega and Moon, respectively.

After the intermission and the introduction of the third former Miss La Verne in attendance, the final stage of the competition began with the evening wear contest. However, before the pageant winners were named, the raffle winners were announced, the youngsters from Dance Central performed another number, and a reflective audio-visual farewell tribute from Fernandez, who was then presented with a certificate of commendation signed by county supervisor Mike Antonovich.

Finally, the most anticipated moment of the evening arrived. The first announcement was for Miss Congeniality, a title that went to Ortega. The honor of First Runner-Up was awarded to Boland, but the big prize went to Moon, the woman with by far the biggest fan club who said afterward she did not expect to win.

“You work so hard and that’s the last thing on your mind, “ she said. “Right now I’m really looking forward to getting to know and work with the city council, and going to Fresno (where the Miss California competition will be held this summer). “

“I see a lot of great things in her and I look forward to helping her go to Miss California and be as successful as I am, “ Fernandez said of her successor.

As for what it was like surrendering her crown, Fernandez was philosophical, and was proud of what she was able to accomplish during her reign, including winning the first ever Miss California Platform Impact Award.

But according to El-Mahmoud, who graduated ULV in 2000 with a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education in ’03, perhaps the biggest attractions of this and every other scholarship pageant under the Miss USA umbrella are the financial and social gains.

“Scholarship-wise, it’s a very good program for helping young women go to college, “ she said. “It’s also a very good way for women to get confidence for interviews and other things later in life. “

Tom Anderson can be reached at

Tom Anderson
Leah Heagy, Photography Editor
Leah Heagy

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