Miss Merced County is crowned

A Golden Valley High School senior was crowned Miss Merced County 2014 during a competition filled with music, dance and laughter.

Danielle Diele, 17, took home the crown and a $1,000 scholarship Saturday during the competition at El Capitan High in Merced. Diele plans to pursue a degree in agricultural law.

“It’s been such an amazing journey, and I’m just so excited to represent this county,” Diele said. “I’m excited to serve my platform as well as serve (as) Miss Merced County, and be that role model for those younger girls.”

Each contestant adopts a platform, or cause, during her run for the crown. Diele’s platform was agriculture awareness. She will attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, next fall.

Diele said she has eyed the Miss Merced County crown since about the sixth grade, when she saw that year’s winner at a charity event.

As a winner of the county crown, Diele earned the right to compete at the next level. “I’m excited and ready to go to Miss California,” she said.

Many of the contestants in the talent competition performed dance routines, or sang popular songs and show tunes. Diele performed a comedic monologue. As the character Edith Anne, she played an overconfident 5-year-old girl with a lisp.

The Miss Merced County contest ran concurrently with two other pageants. Each competitor was judged on evening wear, physical fitness, talent, and responses during an interview and to an impromptu question.

Sarah Bui, 18, received the Miss Sierra Nevada 2014 title on Saturday. The USC freshman from Westminster ran on a platform to “empower and invest in adolescent youth.”

Bui played the “Minute Waltz” by Chopin for the talent portion.

Also crowned was Marina Inserra. The 22-year-old, a San Diego State graduate, was named Miss Yosemite Valley 2014. Inserra‘s platform is to raise breast cancer awareness. She sang “Bring Him Home” during the talent portion.

Both Bui and Inserra went home with $500 scholarships.

Two $500 scholarships were given in honor of Merced County veterans killed in Iraq. Those scholarships went to Ashley Alemen and Aimee Ramirez.

Ramirez, 18, is a first-year student at Merced College. Alemen, 17, is a Merced High School senior.

Miss Merced County is a franchise of the Miss America Organization, the largest scholarship program in the world for women, according to a press release. Education and community service are the main priorities of the program, the release stated.

Read more here: http://preview.mercedsunstar.com/2014/01/19/3449744/miss-merced-county-crowned.html#storylink=cpy