Mercedes native crowned Miss TAMUK

MERCEDES — It’s quite fitting that Mercedes is known as the Queen City.

As of this past month, one of its own is now a beauty queen.

On April 16, Tessie Ledesma, a 2014 Mercedes High School graduate who is now a sophomore at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, was named Miss TAMUK at the school’s annual scholarship pageant.

Ledesma, who is majoring in communications and has future plans of becoming a sports broadcaster, received a $2,000 scholarship along with the honor of being crowned queen for a year.

She now joins past Miss TAMUK winners such as Hollywood beauty Eva Longoria and Valley newscaster Marcy Martinez.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Ledesma, who had once been in the running for the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo Cover Girl.

“To be honest, at first I was only half serious about entering the contest and it was something that I kind of joked about with my mom,” she continued. “However, I was friends with the 2015 winner and she convinced me to give it a try, and I figured it would be a good experience. However, I never dreamed that I was going to win so when I did, I was very surprised.”

Ledesma said that nine candidates were up for the crown and the first portion of the contest was a behind-the-scenes interview with university officials.

“That part of the contest counted for 50 percent of the competition,” she said. “During the interview, they asked my about my future plans and from the original nine contestants they eventually whittled it down to three finalists. At that point I would have been happy because I didn’t even think I would make it into the top three. However, when they called my name as the winner, I was very happy.”

As Miss TAMUK, Ledesma is required to be at all university events and ceremonies throughout the year as well as various community events in Kingsville such as the annual Relay for Life fundraiser that is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

“I love it because I enjoy acting as an ambassador of my university. I love getting out there and talking with people,” she said.

“I am humbled and honored to have been crowned as Miss TAMUK. In my role, I hope to be not only a Javelina ambassador but a student leader that can inspire and encourage students to take pride and passion in this university. In doing so, I will strive to increase student involvement at TAMUK, which in turn I hope increases our retention and graduation rate.”