New Mr. and Miss Cardinal City Court Crowned

New Mr. and Miss Cardinal City Court Crowned
Posted on 09/28/2021
(l-r) Newly crowned Miss Cardinal City Jamie Villalobos and Mr. Cardinal City Abdel-Rahman Hussein with his court, Saul Felix and Carmel Gonzales.

After a mask-wearing and music-filled event on Saturday, September 25 that brought much joy and excitement to the San Bernardino High School (SBHS) community, Abdel-Rahman Hussein and Jamie Villalobos were crowned the new Mr. and Miss Cardinal City, respectively.


The 2021–2022 pageant was unlike any held before. According to pageant director and SBHS bilingual school outreach worker Jaime Rios, due to COVID-related cancellations of the separate 2020–2021 Mr. Cardinal and Miss Cardinal pageants, he made the decision to combine the pageants for 2021–2022.


“The students and staff have waited so long for the pageant,” Rios said. “It’s become a tradition and something that everyone looks forward to. Once we had the proper safety precautions in place to make it happen, I wanted to involve both sets of contestants.”


Rios worked closely with staff from SBHS and Sturges Center for the Fine Arts, where the pageant was held, to make sure that everyone would be as safe as possible from COVID. He also consulted with District officials, including the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD) Safety & Emergency Manager Eric Vetere.


The COVID safety measures involved limiting the pageant audience to 250 invited guests only, which included only 10 members of each contestant’s family, pageant judges, performers, and a small, select group of Sturges and SBHS staff and judges’ guests. Since Sturges can accommodate 700 audience members, the extra space allowed the audience to be grouped by household with empty seats between groups.


Additionally, every person in attendance was asked to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times, excluding when sipping water or for children under age 2, as allowed by law. Signage reminded attendees to assess their health before entering Sturges, and everyone had to submit to a temperature check. Hand sanitizer stations were available for the judges, backstage for the contestants, and for the audience. An industrial-sized, HEPA-grade air filter in the auditorium filtered the air for virus particles.


Filling out Mr. Cardinal City’s court are first runner-up Carmel Gonzales and second runner-up Saul Felix.


Miss Cardinal City’s court includes first runner-up Kylee Bravo and second runner-up Laura Galindo. Miss International Beauty 2021 Trinity Ortega and Teen International Beauty 2021 Ashley Torres were also crowned Saturday night and will be part of the Miss Cardinal City court.


The pageant also included several special presentations. Ivan Cruz, a SBHS Class of 2021 graduate, was named Mr. Cardinal City 2020–2021.


“The Mr. Cardinal City 2020–2021 pageant was cancelled just weeks before the event due to the COVID-19 lockdowns,” Rios said. “The contestants had been practicing and providing hours of community service up to that point, but they never got to take the stage. I couldn’t give that back to them, but I could crown an honorary Mr. Cardinal City 2020–2021 from among the contestants.”


Cruz was crowned shortly before Mr. Cardinal City 2021–2022 was announced, so his reign was short lived, but he will be listed as a former Mr. Cardinal City in official documents.


Dr. Harold Vollkommer, retired SBCUSD interim superintendent and former deputy superintendent, was honored for his longtime support of the Mr. and Miss Cardinal City pageants. He has judged several pageants and been the master of ceremonies for others.


Mr. and Miss Cardinal City and their Courts will represent Cardinal City, which is an official chartered city that encompasses the SBHS campus and all of its current students and staff, at various in-person and virtual functions.


According to Susan Jeske Irvine, the holder of the trademark for Miss International Beauty and Teen International Beauty, both titles focus on using the exhilaration of pageantry to teach women and girls important life skills, encourage involvement in community service, and use their “Crown for a Purpose,” while shaping the leaders of tomorrow. Miss International Beauty and Teen International Beauty were incorporated into the Miss Cardinal City pageant this year as part of a set of unique circumstances because of COVID and the passing of founder Louise Madlin.


Mr. and Miss Cardinal City are eligible for college scholarships when they graduate from SBHS. To donate to the Cardinal Scholarship fund, contact Communications/Community Relations secretary Susan Zavala at (909) 381-1250. Miss International Beauty 2021 and Teen International Beauty 2021 will each receive $100 in prize money.

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