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2018 Mr. and Miss Hispanic OU

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2018 Mr. and Miss Hispanic OU

2018 Mr. and Miss Hispanic OU

Since earning the crowns in April, sophomore Abraham Mendieta and junior Ana Sophia Perez have been proudly representing their university as Mr. and Miss Hispanic OU.

The scholarship pageant, which is presented by the Hispanic American Student Association (HASA), recognizes the hard work, academic achievements, and dedication to the Latino community. In addition to performing talents and answering on-stage questions, contestants share cultural presentations with the audience. After being crowned, the king and queen serve for one full academic year.

Both Mendieta, a sociology and public relations major from Oklahoma City, Okla., and Perez, who is originally from Honduras, boast platforms that are personal to them.

After witnessing her grandmother’s struggle with depression, Perez was drawn to the medical field and her psychology pre-med major at OU. This experience also influenced her platform, called Mental Health Awareness Toward our Youth. Through this, she hopes to break down the stigmas surrounding mental health illnesses and make people feel comfortable enough to talk about it and give them resources where they can seek help.

Mendieta’s platform is called Advancing Leadership Youth Program (ALYP), an eight-month leadership development program he started this fall to “inspire the leadership potential that resides in diverse students from grades ninth through 11th.” In its first year, 25 students are participating in the program, and Perez is even serving as a mentor in the program thanks to the connection made between her and Mendieta through the pageant.

On campus, Mendieta and Perez are both actively involved with a variety of student organizations and groups, including President’s Leadership Class and Latinos Without Borders for Mendieta and pre-med club and Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. for Perez, just to name a few. They are also part of HASA and said they were drawn to the university due in large part to the strong sense of community and the OU family.

“You feel like you matter, they truly care about you, and they want to get to know you and be able to help you,” Perez said of multicultural organizations like HASA.

Mendieta said he also enjoys the opportunity to be a role model for others as Mr. Hispanic OU. In the past, he had volunteered at many of the events where he and Perez now make appearances and recognizes the platform their titles give them.

“I like being able to see the impact and how younger students in high school or even younger look up to us at events,” Mendieta said. “It’s great being able to be that Hispanic role model that they see. It’s not something that you realize in the moment, but in reality we can be those role models for them.”