Erica Santiago / News Director
This past weekend the Mr. and Ms. FIU Scholarship Pageant took place at the Mary Anne Wolfe Theater at BBC and culminated with the announcement of the University’s new Mr. and Ms. FIU 2016. This year, students Stephanie Almeida, a senior marketing major, and Rene Maurice, a senior corporate marketing major, were crowned Mr. and Ms. FIU 2016 respectively.
As the winner of Mr. FIU 2016, Maurice received a $550 scholarship, an official Mr. FIU crown, sash and plaque.
Among the many awards Almeida received as the new reigning Ms. FIU was a $1,500 scholarship , an official Miss America crown, sash, pin and plaque. She was a also awarded $150 towards her talent costume for the upcoming Miss Florida Pageant as well as a $400 towards her gown for Miss Florida.
“I’m excited about every opportunity to be a voice to women at FIU and share my experience with the community, getting more people involved in how awesome Mr. and Ms. FIU is.” said Alemeida.
Almeida went on to say that she wants to “really encourage people to hold themselves up to a better standard and to go for their dreams and goals.”
Each contestant had a specific platform that they represented. Maurice, who is of Hatian decent, had the platform of gentrification of Little Haiti.
Almeida’s platform was Feed Miami.
The event was off to a late start, beginning about 30 minutes passed it’s scheduled time of 5 p.m., and kicked off with the contestants introducing themselves via a choreographed dance number to Lorde’s “Royals” and “Tennis Courts.”
Once the introductions were over, contestants then had to impress the judges and the live audience by showcasing their swimwear and talents.
Almeida, who is a dancer in FIU’s Golden Dazzlers, completed the talent portion of the competition with a Jazz dance routine to the song “Confident” by Demi Lovato. Maurice, who is also an Elite Man of Phi Beta Sigma service fraternity, performed a step routine as his talent.
After the talent portion, contestants had to complete the evening wear and Q&A portion of the pageant.
According to Torya Whittaker, the former Ms. FIU 2015, this portion of the competition “is designed for a contestant to make an on-stage statement her compelling charm, presence and personality.”
Almeida was asked “What is a change you would like to see in your generation?” She answered that she would like to see her generation help put an end to racism and to love one-another as equals.
When Maurice was asked about his proudest accomplishments, he answered that he was proud to have gone from a student facing legal troubles a year ago, to being in the running for Mr. FIU 2016.
After the evening wear and Q&A session, Whittaker began to prep for her final farewell.
Each year, Miss FIU winners choose someone to mentor as Miss FIU’s Sunshine Prince or Princess.
Prior to her final walk, Whittaker’s younger sister Dallas Whittaker took to the stage to perform a short dance routine to the song “Beautiful Liar” by Beyonce and Shakira.
Dallas Whitacker is 6 years old and was the former Miss FIU’s Sunshine Princess.
After the performance, the Former Miss FIU 2015 took the stage to take her final walk as the titleholder.
After deliberation from the judges and taking into account the audience choice vote, Almeida and Maurice were crowned Mr. and Ms. FIU 2016.
[photo and video by Erica Santiago]