Miss Shrimpfest hopes to attend medical school (w/video)
June 14, 2014 at 1:14 a.m.
Updated June 15, 2014 at 1:15 a.m.
SEADRIFT - Kaylie Gomez, 17, of Seadrift, stepped gingerly onto a white footstool to reach the white wooden runway in the Miss Shrimpfest Beauty Pageant on Saturday.
Shrimpfest, which began Friday, also included a kids' fishing tournament, a 5K fun run, a karaoke contest and horseshoes and washers tournaments with musical entertainment by Clay Crockett and the Shotgun Riders, among other musicians.
With San Antonio Bay in the background, a crowd of spectators filled folding chairs under the pavilion to support the more than 20 contestants who competed in the beauty pageant.
Categories included Pretty Baby Boy, Pretty Baby Girl, Little Mister, Little Miss, Junior Miss, Young Miss and Miss Shrimpfest.
"They get to be in front of people and get outside their comfort zones," said Lynn Reeves, zone 12 chairwoman for the Lions Club, which sponsored the pageant. "We encourage them to be more beautiful inside than outside."
Gomez walked away in her blue and white striped nautical dress with the Miss Shrimpfest title and a $250 scholarship.
"I hope to become a medical research scientist," Gomez said. "Everyone has a right to health care, and I want to help people."
Gomez received an invitation from the National Academy of Future Physicians to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Washington, D.C., in November.
She earned an award of excellence from the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists for her outstanding grades, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine.
"I've been praying for something like this to happen, and I'd almost given up on my dream when I got the letter," Gomez said. "God is opening doors for me."
Gomez, a Calhoun High School junior, must raise $1,500 to attend the ceremony. Once there, she will have the opportunity to compete for $185,000 in scholarship money.
"It would mean the world to me," Gomez said. "It would be a life-changing experience to gain knowledge by talking to professors and doctors - some of them are Nobel Prize winners."
The recognition also would help with scholarship and college admission applications, Gomez said.
Gomez is the daughter of Angelica and Guadalupe Gomez, of Seadrift, and she is the youngest of four children.
A red ribbon blew in the wind from the sailor's hat that pressed down Gomez's brown curls. She beamed as she collected her gold trophy.
"We'll hold the money in a special account for her since she is still a junior," Reeves said. "She wants to go to medical school, and we said, 'Oh yeah, we'll help you.'"