PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

September 23, 2013

Mercedes Candiloro to reign as Pecan Queen

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — The newly crowned Texas Pecan Festival Queen Mercedes Candiloro knows how to use her time wisely.

Candiloro, a 17-year-old senior at Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School, is an honor roll student, member of the National Honor Society and president of the Kelly Dance Force. She also divides her time between volunteering with her youth group at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and is a Teen A.C.T.S. co-director.

She also enjoys singing and dancing and likes to paint gathering her inspiration from Bible readings.

Now she can add Texas Pecan Festival queen to her long list of activities.

Her parents, Dr. Michael and Lana Candiloro, are extremely proud of their ambitious yet humble daughter.

Their pride extends from Mercedes’ actions immediately after the pageant. Instead of reveling in her win and new title, she gave comfort to a friend who did not win the title.

“Even though she was excited that she had won, she was more concerned with the other girls’ feelings,” Michael Candiloro said. “They went back to the dressing room, hugged and cried. I think she gets that because of her relationship with God and the church. It made us feel proud.”

Candiloro plans to attend college and become a pediatric gastroenterologist. The reason, she said, is that she was diagnosed with acid reflux disease and underwent many tests and doctor visits when she was younger. One day she hopes to open a practice near the area, so patients won’t have to travel so far for treatment.

The Pecan Festival Queen offers advice to other young pageant hopefuls that also applies to everyday life: “Never give up.”

“If I could give advice to anyone considering competing in a pageant, it’s that you don’t have to be the typical pageant girl. I had never won in an age division when I was younger, so never give up,” she said.

She doesn’t like to think of herself as a “typical pageant person” but realizes that part of that means having self-confidence and being self-motivated, she said.

“No one will do your homework for you or take a test for you or attend club meetings for you,” she said.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews