CICERO – It was when a little girl stood staring silently, adoringly, up at Lupita Diaz-Donato on Sept. 5 that it sunk into this year’s Seniorta Cicero that the contest was about much more than beauty and talent.
Diaz-Donato was crowned Senorita Cicero during the Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee’s annual pageant Sept. 5 to kick off a week-long celebration of Mexican Independence Day.
The 20-year-old DePaul University student competed with seven other contestants in a series of challenges that included a runway walk with traditional Mexican costumes reflecting various eras in the country’s history. There was also a talent competition and a question-and-answer session with judges, one of which was Alamia Schwerdtman, chair of the Miss Illinois Scholarship Association.
Runners-up were Marisol Campos, 18, and Maria Esther-Sanchez, 20.
For her talent component, Diaz-Donato showed her virtuosity with the violin.
“I try my best,” she said. “I like to play Mariachi music. It’s one of my favorite types of music to listen to. It’s just so full of happiness.”
According to the event’s organizer, Frank Aguilar, Diaz-Donato gave a winning performance while answering questions in perfect English and Spanish.
So, just who is Lupita Diaz-Donato?
“I am a young lady who graduated Morton East High School, was very much involved and graduated with honors,” she said. “I am happily studying biology at DePaul.”
She’s now a sophomore, and medical school is definitely in her plans.
Along with her violin playing, Diaz-Donato also sings in the Mary Queen of Heavens Church Choir, and likes to try her hand at theguitar, piano and clarinet.
The oldest of four, she has two brothers, Justin and Jose, and a sister, Rose.
“They always look up to me because I am the oldest,” she said.
The DePaul student, who some day wants to dedicate herself to the neurosciences, said she sees the honor as a responsibility.
“To me, this competition doesn’t mean I’m the most beautiful or talented person in Cicero,” she said. “I think I’m representing all of the hard working women here in Cicero.
“This past Sunday, this little girl came up to me and the first and second runners up, and this little girl was looking up to us. It made me realize we were role models for these children.”
As Senorita Cicero, the winner received a $1,000 educational scholarship, a pearl necklace provided by Jared jewelry store and a fur coat from Christos Fur Salon.
She also presided as Queen of the Mexican Independence Day Parade last Sunday.