WHS Graduate to Compete in Miss USA Pageant

Inspirational WHS Graduate to compete in Miss USA Pageant
Posted on 2020/09/23
Yesenia Vidales being crowned Miss Arizona 2020Yesenia Vidales Islas graduated from Washington High School in 2015. After competing in pageant events for the past six years, Yesenia won the Miss Arizona USA 2020 competition. She is the first bilingual, Spanish and English speaking, Miss Arizona, and she hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams. 

Yesenia was raised in a loving and supportive family. Her immigrant parents worked extra jobs to help Yesenia pursue her goals. Her mother offered to clean a private dance studio in exchange for Yesenia’s dance lessons. The support and encouragement she received from her parents helped her build self confidence. She didn’t have the most expensive shoes, dance costumes, or gowns, but she had a personal drive and the perseverance to be successful.

When she was a student, Yesenia got involved in extracurricular activities at WHS. “Being on the dance, pom and cheer teams definitely helped me create some wonderful memories,” she said. “Some of my favorites are football games, competitions, dance concerts and assemblies. Overall, I have many memories from my time in high school that I will always cherish!”

Yesenia has some important advice to pass on to our current students. “Healthy mental space is so important. My advice to teenagers struggling with mental health during this time is to fuel yourself with positive energy. That may differ from person to person,” she adds, “I like to read self help books, go hiking, spend time with my family, map out future endeavors, and watch educational documentaries. Get creative and think of different ways to achieve what you desire.” 

On a personal note, Yesenia had her own struggles when the pandemic happened earlier this year.  She shared, “When the pandemic first hit the USA, I struggled a lot with my mental health because I had just won Miss AZ USA two months before, and the pandemic basically took away most of my opportunities that I would have had here in Arizona. After a couple of months I decided that there are still ways to use my title for good, so I organized a food drive with a local food bank, I became an ambassador for Caris Sports Foundation, became a big sister with the BBS AZ organization, and became a mentor for an all girls school. I believe that when one wants to do something there is always a way.”

Her dance teacher at Washington, Ms. Abramovich, has always been impressed with Yesenia’s determination to overcome challenges. “Many people think that beauty queens have a perfect and wonderful life,” Ms. Abramovich explained, “but the truth is that she had many struggles when she started doing pageants, and she stayed positive and got through them all. She understands that it takes work to have a good life,” Ms. Abramovich added, “and she puts in the work, and she has a good life!”

Congratulations Yesenia, and good luck at the Miss USA competition in Memphis on November 9, 2020. You are an inspiration to all of us to pursue our dreams. 

Yesenia with WHS dance teacher, Kelli Abramovich