María José Castillo Venegas was named Miss Racine 2022 on Saturday, November 20th at the Preservation Hall, 240 Lake Ave., in downtown Racine. The 23-year-old graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2020. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Applied Mathematics. She is currently employed as a formula chemist at SC Johnson.
The young Latina took her first step into the Miss America Organization to give back to Southeast Wisconsin something to look forward to. The Miss Racine scholarship competition did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Sophia Karegeannes was appointed to a two-year term as Miss Racine for 2020 and 2021.
Castillo Venegas says, “I wanted to make sure people knew they had something to believe in or to feel happy again.”
The Miss Racine Competition is a local preliminary round for the Miss Wisconsin State Competition and the Miss America Scholarship Competition. The Miss America Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, is the nation’s premier advocate for women’s education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the United States.
Implementation of restorative justice
Castillo Venegas earned $ 600 in scholarships on Saturday night. In addition to being awarded the crown, she was also named a Talent Prize Winner and Miss Congeniality. During the entire competition, she promoted her platform “Mental Health Awareness Through a Restorative Justice Approach”. This social impact initiative will be a primary focus of the newly crowned Miss Racine during her year of service.
“Restorative Justice is a conversation that aims to uplift and support those who would otherwise be reprimanded for factors they cannot control,” says Miss Racine in 2022, noting a difference in student behavior. “She is sure that with the right support and a listening ear, change can happen.
Castillo Venegas has a unique talent for Miss Wisconsin
She decided to entertain guests by performing a talent that had never been seen before. Miss Racine 2022 is a speedcuber. While speed cubing on stage, the 23-year-old gave a touching original monologue about her experiences as a Latina woman, who is also a disabled person and a chemist.
Castillo Venegas has a condition called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects her connective tissue. It causes problems with the skin, joints, blood vessels, and more. Symptoms include dislocated joints, stretchy skin, chronic pain, extreme fatigue, and more.
She is open to sharing information about her diagnosis and providing support to others. Miss Racine 2022 says, “I am a person; a three-dimensional person with so many stories to share. I have a multitude of identities that make me unconventional, not just because of how I look. “
First Latina to wear Miss Racine’s crown
In addition to being the first Latina to hold the Miss Racine title in the Miss America Organization, this Racinian will advance for the Miss Wisconsin competition in June.
“It means the absolute world to me,” said Castillo Venegas. “To be honest, it’s sad to be the first in 2021 as Racine never consisted of a race or two. We’ve always been diverse and it’s great that I can carry this first torch for every woman, hopefully without worrying about the race holding them back. ”In 2017, Castillo Venegas won the Miss Latina Racine title.
Volunteering is not new to Castillo Venegas. She plans to pass it on to the city she has called home since 1999 when her family immigrated from Mexico to Racine. Her favorite thing about her hometown is that “wherever you turn in Racine County, there’s a whole different little galaxy a mile away. You’ve got the chatter of downtown Racine, the serene open country of Union Grove, quaint Burlington, and more. Our diversity across the country has several levels! And with those shifts we have so many different talents, skills, jobs, and valuable thoughts that give us a mix of farm and city life. ”
Meet Miss Racine
María José Castillo Venegas will serve Racine for the remainder of 2021-2022. In June she will take the stage in Oshkosh and take part in the state competition. Encourage her year of service by following her on the Miss Racine Facebook page.
Your first appearance will be on Thanksgiving Day at Dan & Ray’s Rendering’s annual Thanksgiving event.