Danika Day wins Miss Oak View
title, Guerenas named Citizens of the Year
by Kelly Feser Eells
On March 2, civic pride was as plain as the prettily powdered
noses on the Miss Oak View and Miss Teen Oak View contestants'
faces. That's when they and close to 150 residents, municipal
representatives, longtime movers and shakers, and assorted fun-loving
folk celebrated their community's outstanding leaders, elected
their honorary mayor, and, amongst themselves, chose this year's
Held at the Oak View Community Center, the annual pageant is
as looked forward to an event as the town's Pony Express Days.
In addition to crowning its almost 50th Miss Oak View, the community
turned out in force to recognize fellow citizens who, in a variety
of capacities, have worked to make their neighborhood a better
Ojai Valley Municipal Advisory Council member Barbara Kennedy,
a longtime local activist and former honorary mayor (the non-paying
position that has, traditionally, been awarded to the "candidate"
collecting the most $1 dollar votes) reported that Nancy Hill-Hinz
again outdid herself as youth pageant coordinator.
"She does a great job getting the word out," said Kennedy,
agreeing that Hill-Hinz has, over the past 10 years, served as
both self-esteem mentor and "West Coast Bert Parks"
to many of the valley's young women.
This year's Miss Oak View title went to Danika Day; first runner-up
honors went to Claudia Lara. Miss Teen Oak View and first runner-up,
respectively, were Liz Tousignant and Brittany Dailey.
Ed Guerena, per Kennedy, ran uncontested as Honorary Mayor, garnering
$279 dollars, i.e., votes, which will go into the Civic Council's
general fund. As honorary mayor, he will also serve as the council's
Guerena and his wife, Linda, were also feted as Citizens of the
Winners of the Miss Congeniality and Miss Teen Congeniality contests
were, again, nominated and chosen by their peers. This year,
there were two winners in each category: Claudia Lara and Danika
Day were each voted most congenial in the former, and Randi Sharp
and Brittany Dailey impressed their fellow teens as most congenial
in the latter.
Sunset School student Rebecca Sims' essay about her grandmother,
Judy Schneider of Oak View, won Schneider Parent of the Year
honors. Kennedy noted that, "while we're always moved by
these essays" (annually submitted by third, fourth and fifth
graders), Sims, who has been raised by Schneider since her mother
died, submitted this year's most touching tribute to parenthood.
Oak View Shell owner Al Bukowski and wife Alicia were on hand
to receive the Business of the Year award; Ojai Valley Moose
Lodge was named Organization of the Year.
The event's patriotic theme was enhanced by "a first,"
added Kennedy. "The girls were escorted by USAF cadets,
led by Sgt. Oscar Machado." Also, the opening ceremonies
included "a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner,"
sung by Jenny Parfoit.
Oak View residents Mike and Barbara Smith received the Hall of
Fame award, which, said Kennedy, is given to citizens "who,
going back 10 years or more, did something outstanding for the
community." The Smiths were instrumental in building the
Little League field, as well as the very community center the
event was held in.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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Miss Teen Oak View Samantha Perry, left, pins the sash on her
successor, Liz Tousignant, at Saturday's annual pageant.