BRIGHT FUTURES — Mexican Heritage Queen Star Pena enjoys serving her community

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Dressed in a costume based off the 1700s Yaqui tribe in Sonora, Mexico, Star Pena performed the traditional Danza del Venado, giving a nod to her Hispanic roots while telling a story with movement.

Pena, 18, was recently crowed Miss Mexican Heritage during the 55th annual Mexican Heritage Fiesta.

Pageant Director Zita Downs said Pena’s costume represented a deer.

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“It has a beautiful meaning that we are thankful for the deer’s life, as that is what gives the tribe food to live,” Downs said. “Star will be an amazing queen, as she loves to serve the community.”

The new queen has worked to help the community from taking part in various clubs at Kelly High School in Beaumont, including the Yellow Ribbon Club that centers around mental health awareness and breast cancer awareness and a green team that is about caring for the environment. She was a member of the Key Club.

Miss Mexican Heritage Star Pena, center, is seen with parents Priscilla Pena and Esteban Pena. (Courtesy photo)

She also took part in volleyball, basketball and softball.

Pena is currently a freshman at Lamar University, where she’s majoring in biology with the goal of becoming a plastic surgeon to help others.

“I’ve wanted to be a plastic surgeon since I was little,” Pena said. “I had watched a commercial with my mom that showed kids with abnormalities and traumas, and ever since then I’ve wanted to help people with those needs.”

She’d like to continue her higher education at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Taking part in the pageant was a step outside of her comfort zone and something she feels improved her personally and touched on her Hispanic heritage.

And it marked the first time she had been in the local pageant.

“I learned about making connections with people around me and learning more about my Hispanic heritage, especially back to native times,” she said.

Pena said her grandfather is native of Monterrey, Mexico.

Star Pena’s royal robe is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

Overall she said the pageant experience, including an interview that came prior to the pageant was a positive experience.

“I felt it really helped me out on stage representing Sonora and I felt more I touch with my culture,” she said.

Pageant contestants each represent a state in Mexico and learn about that area’s people, culture and dress as well as wear a costume from that area and perform a dance representing the state.

As a college student she doesn’t have a lot of down time. She’s a new member of Zeta Tau Alpha and shadows a professional at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

She enjoys painting at home.

The newly crowed queen is taking part in a year’s full of activities, where she represents the Mexican Heritage Society along with other category winners.

As of Monday, Pena had represented the organization at four events since being crowed Sept. 9.

Star Pena is the daughter of Esteban Pena and Priscilla Pena.

Other winners of the Mexican Heritage Pageant include:

  • Junior Miss Mexican Heritage: Jessalyn Galvin
  • Little Miss Mexican Heritage: Natalie Padron
  • Young Miss Mexican Heritage: Guiliana Magaña
  • Petite Miss Mexican Heritage: Annabelle Mayo
  • Tiny Miss Mexican Heritage: Charlotte Chiasson
  • Miss Preciosa: Mila Downs
  • Mr. Jovencito: Azariah Estupiñan