POMONA - A Pomona High School senior was crowned Miss Pomona in a ceremony at Fox Theater on Sunday afternoon.

Jelitza Herrera was crowned after she and two other finalists, Jessica Schaller and Chantal Santoyo, both juniors at Diamond Ranch High School, delivered a prepared speech before a panel of judges.

Herrera won a $3,000 scholarship, and Schaller and Santoyo were each awarded a $1,500 scholarship.

The three will take part in community service projects for the next year and take part in various special events.

This year, the Miss Pomona Scholarship Pageant attracted 26 applicants, the most in the four years the Downtown Pomona Owners Association has organized the event, said Larry Egan, the association's executive director.

Jelitza Herrera, Pomona High School senior, is crowned the 2013 Miss Pomona Scholarship Pageant Queen.
Jelitza Herrera, Pomona High School senior, is crowned the 2013 Miss Pomona Scholarship Pageant Queen. (Micah Escamilla/Correspondent)

Egan attributes the response in part to Danielle Garcia, Miss Pomona 2012, who spoke to young people about the pageant.

The field was narrowed to eight, from which the three finalists were selected, Egan said.

"The reception has been getting better and better every year," Egan said Friday.

"At first, people thought it was a beauty pageant," Egan said. The pageant is "strictly scholastic and about community involvement."

The association took up responsibilities for organizing the pageant with a dual goal. One goal is to raising awareness and draw visitors to downtown Pomona, Egan said. The other goal is to recognize the accomplishments of Pomona's youths.

"There's a lot of talent in the city," he said. "It's kind of exciting to see so many of young and talented people."

Staff Writer Beatriz Valenzuela contributed to this report.


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