2019 Miss Commerce Pageant Participants
Marina Lifelong resident Marina Castillo is a fitness buff who loves to workout, so much so that she plans of
Castillo pursuing a career in Nutrition and fitness. She hopes to inspire and motivate others into becoming
the best versions of themselves, which is evident in her working on creating a swimsuit line that in-
Daughter of Guadalupe cludes a variety of sizes and colors that is inclusive and body positive.
& Fernando Castillo In addition to fitness, Marina is also into performing arts, starting off in the Teen Center’s Performing
19 years of age Arts group when she was ten years old. Her favorite memory in the group involved their production
Rio Hondo City College of the Wizard of Oz, where she played the Wicked Witch. It was in the production that she made
5’5” so many memories and created so many great friends, all while she was painted green for the role.
Brown hair Marina hopes to become Miss Commerce to become a role model for the youth of the City.
Dark brown eyes “A good role model should be very optimistic about anything and everything, show compassion and
Nicolle interest in others, be confident in who you are and to not be afraid of new challenges.”
Since Nicolle Verduzco enjoys helping people feel better, she would like to pursue a career in the
Daughter of Sandra medical field. The Schurr High School student has volunteered at LAC+USC hospital and believes
& Luis A. Verduzco she would be passionate about her profession. Nicolle is one of the few girls in Pathways Engineer-
17 years of age ing and Design, the extra class she has been taking for the past three years.
Schurr High School Nicolle said she loves that her city has so many opportunities, such as the Miss Commerce Pag-
5’ eant, Camp Commerce and Teen Center activities; it is all the programs that fill her with pride when
Brown hair she tells people she lives in Commerce. She enjoys attending the Christmas Lighting and Fourth
Brown eyes of July celebrations with her family and friends.
“A role model should always be kind to everyone, a respectful person and confident because people
Lopez look up to them, and I think it’s important that people have to look at these qualities.”
Daughter of Yvonne When Heaven Leann Lopez graduates from Bell Gardens High School, she plans to attend college
& Kenton Yellowbird to pursue a career in the performing arts and entertainment industries. Meanwhile, she enjoys watch-
17 years of age ing shows on Broadway with friends and family and is a member of Teen Center’s Unplugged Per-
Bell Gardens High School forming Arts troupe and the Adventure Club.
5’2” Her favorite Commerce memory is of going on the Teen Center’s annual excursion to Camp Com-
Blonde hair merce.
Brown eyes Heaven likes living in the City because of its loving and caring community, as well as its amazing
recreation leaders. She is appreciative of all the wonderful opportunities the City has given her and
Stephany credits Commerce with shaping her into the strong young woman she has become. She wants to
be Miss Commerce because she believes she possesses the qualities of a great leader.
Daughter of Maria
Arredondo Stephany Velazquez has always wanted to help animals ever since she was eight years old. She is
19 years of age working hard to reach her dream by majoring in the field of Zoology at Long Beach City College so
Long Beach City College that she can be a veterinarian for farm animals. Stephany loves being a Commerce resident be-
5’7” cause of all the opportunities the City gives to the community, which is why she wants to be the
Brown hair City’s ambassador, Miss Commerce.
Brown eyes “I want to make my mother proud and be an amazing role model for young girls throughout the
City,” she said.
Wilyn M. When she’s not studying, Stephany is artistic and fitness focused; her hobbies include drawing,
Canjura painting, hiking, and going to the gym. In fact, she plays water polo, which gives her so many great,
fun memories with her teammates. It’s not surprising that she’s so open as her personality allows
Daughter of Moyra Garcia
and William Canjura her to get along with everyone she meets.
18 years of age
East Los Angeles College Wilyn M. Canjura is a certified yoga instructor who is attending East Los Angeles College to become
5’2” a Registered Nurse. Her passions include dance, yoga and traveling. She particularly enjoys expe-
Brown hair riencing different cultures and exotic cuisines and has already traveled to France, England, and
Brown eyes Spain to do just that. She said she would love to visit Italy and Merida, Yucatan Mexico to see the
pyramids and her grandfather’s birthplace.
2 Connection Wilyn’s most cherished Commerce memories are the trips she took with her family to Camp Com-
merce where she enjoyed the snow in the winter and the fresh air in the summer. She has lived
in Commerce all her life and appreciates the City for providing residents with numerous opportu-
nities via its countless programs.
She said she would be honored to serve as Miss Commerce because she will be able to inspire
2019 Miss Commerce Pageant Participants
Brianna Limon is fascinated by complexities and functions of the human heart, which is why she Brianna
wants to pursue a career in cardiology. What makes Brianna unique is her determination and per- Limon
sistence in everything she is passionate about, whether it’s hiking with her aunt or baking with her
two little cousins. Attending Bell Gardens High School, Brianna loves spending time with her family Daughter of Eustolia &
and her favorite season is winter. It’s no surprise that her favorite family tradition is the Secret Refugio Limon
Santa gift exchange every Christmas. Brianna wants to be Miss Commerce in order to be more in- 16 years of age
volved with my community and give back to the City that has given her so much.
“A good role model should possess confidence and leadership skills. They should be able to show Bell Gardens High School
the world who they are without being worried about what others think. And they should never be 4’7”
afraid to be unique because it’s what makes them, them.”
Victoria Alvarado’s passions are reading novels, writing and volunteering with her dad to help various Brown eyes
events and causes. She is currently attending Pasadena City College to work on fulfilling her dream
becoming a first grade teacher. Victoria I.
From a young age, lifelong Commerce resident Victoria was active in the City, participating in pre- Alvarado
school, ballet classes and swim lessons. At the age of 11, Victoria attended a Miss Commerce
Pageant and upon seeing Miss Commerce, decided she wanted to be Miss Commerce someday. Daughter of Milly Avila
She believes the ideal role model possesses confidence, a positive outlook and an open heart and & Mike Alvarado
mind. 19 years of age
“I have always loved everything about Commerce, but my favorite thing would have to be the sense
of togetherness in our city. Everyone knows each other and it’s like a big family. Whenever there’s a Pasadena City College
problem, you can always count on the community to come together and help out,” she says. 5’
East Los Angeles College student Kayla Dickerson would like to pursue a career in social work so Red hair
she can help kids who deserve a second chance. Brown eyes
Kayla’s interests include singing, writing music and going to the beach. Kayla likes that Commerce
has so many opportunities for its residents. A product of Veterans Park sports programs, she said Kayla F.
she was blessed to have coaches and park staff who genuinely cared about her. She now plays Dickerson
college sports. She believes the number one trait a great role model should possess is honesty.
“They offer the youth so many positive programs such as kids club and sports programs, all while Daughter of Patricia
offering the teens a center of their own and parents the opportunity to trust their kids are safe and Dickerson
well acknowledged. And most importantly the City caters to the seniors of Commerce, providing
them with the senior center, transportation and other beneficial opportunities.” 20 years of age
East Los Angeles College
Gabriela Gomez attends Santa Monica College and plans to pursue a career as a nurse with the
hopes to one day become a travel nurse, going to places with few resources to help those who need 5’11”
it. She currently serves as a nurse assistant, not only helping patients with their immediate needs, Dark Brown hair
but also giving them words of strength before entering a surgery. An avid music lover, Gabriela en-
joys jazz and bossa nova music. She also plays piano and saxophone. Brown eyes
Gabriela believes a good role model should first be a good follower and a good partner, willing to
be heard and hear what others have to contribute. Gabriela S.
“Humbleness is another great quality to have because someone who is willing to admit they are Gomez
wrong is someone you can count on being honest and putting what is right/best first . Lastly, a good
role model should have the aptitude to maintain positivity. A positive leader will always have the ability Daughter of
to bring the best out of everyone.” Eugenia L. Chamorro
& Walter D. Gomez
20 years of age
Santa Monica College
Dark Brown hair
2019 Young Man of the Year Participants
Carlos Heredia is majoring in Biology (pre-med) at Whittier College where he also works as a lifeguard. His goal is to become
an orthopedic or cardiothoracic surgeon.
He loves playing water polo and has traveled to seven countries as a Commerce water polo player. His other passions are
learning the piano and conducting research at school.
Carlos wants to be the Young Man of the Year so he can serve as a positive role model to the younger generation of Com-
merce residents while giving back to the City that has given him so much via its numerous programs.
“A good role model should be a strong leader, a hard worker, a cooperative person, someone with fair judgement and someone
who can teach based off of their experiences!”
Emmanuel A. Gomez
Schurr High School student Emmanuel Gomez became interested in human anatomy and physiology after his sister under-
went open heart surgery. He would like to pursue a career in medicine.
In his spare time, Emmanuel enjoys indulging in a variety of hobbies, including exercising, drawing and playing his trumpet,
guitar and piano.
Emmanuel appreciates the many opportunities and activities the City offers and likes how they serve to foster closeness
within the community. In fact, his favorite Commerce memory is the first time he and his family went to Camp Commerce.
Emmanuel said he would like to be Young Man of the Year because it would be an honor to be an ambassador of such a
“The qualities that a good role model should acquire are good character, a mature mentality and their ability to take rational
Alliance Stem Mass High School student Tony Trandafir participates in several extracurricular activities while maintaining
a 4.1 GPA. He speaks Romanian, Spanish and English and would like to become a film producer. Additionally, hearing about
the injustices his parents suffered as children living in Romania inspired him to want to become a private defense attorney.
Tony is pleased with the opportunities and resources the City offers, such as the teen clubs, sports, recreation, Young Man
of the Year program, Scholarship Program and college application writing workshops.
“I think a good role model should be relatable to the people that admire them. I feel that a role model should be someone
that young people can look up to and see similarities between each other. If I am able to inspire someone who felt like me as
a child, I feel like I am a good role model, since it is a realistic and achievable goal.
Nicholas Sanchez attends East Los Angeles College majoring in communication studies in the hopes of one day pursuing
a career in the film/tv industry as either a producer or a director. His career choice stems from a love of movies growing
up and his passion for video editing and graphic design.
When not studying, Nicholas enjoys exercise, going to the movie theater, attending concerts, graphic design and hanging
out with his friends. His favorite family tradition is celebrating his grandmother’s birthday on 4th of July every year at
Legg Lake Park and afterwards, going back to Commerce and watching the famous firework show at Rosewood Park.
“A good role model should posses great leadership qualities as well as empathy and an openness to hearing opinions
coming from other people in their community. Great leadership skills are needed for a person to set the positive tone towards
others, Empathy in order to understand the circumstances of others, and openness to other’s opinions is needed because
a role model needs the input of others in order to make decisions for a community.”
2019 Young Man of the Year Participants
Christopher Baker is attending East Los Angeles College and plans to transfer to UCLA’s School of Dentistry with a con-
centration on dental hygiene.
Christopher, who grew up in the Bandini Park neighborhood, credits his parents for providing him with a balanced foundation
of life, religion, responsibility and respect, which made him into a positive, loving, intelligent, and self-motivated young man.
He is currently employed as a Recreation Leader for the City.
One of the highlights of his life was being selected as a 58th Assembly District Young Legislator which afforded him the op-
portunity of visiting the state capitol and the headquarters of Google and Facebook.
“It is an opportunity of a lifetime to be considered for the Young Man of the Year, If selected, I will represent the City of Com-
merce with pride and honor. “
Jesus Padilla is a high school senior attending California High School and plans to study business in the hopes of one day
starting his own business. Jesus plays water polo for the City as well as for his school, where he led his squad to the CIF
championships this past year. His hobbies include working out, playing sports, handing out with his friends, watching “The
Office” and drawing and being artistic.
Jesus wants to be the Young Man of the Year in the hopes to inspire his younger water polo teammates to get more
involved in the community and become a great role model to all the young men throughout the City,
“A good role model should be someone who leads by example with respect for others and himself, who is always looking
out for other people and helping out. Someone who is always helping give back and tends to the aid of others than himself
maintaining a good status at all times makes a good role model.”
Jonathan Melendez is attending East Los Angeles College where he is working on his degree in animation. Hoping to join
the ranks of Disney, Miyazaki and Groening, Jonathan has a creative and spontaneous style to his art, sketching unique
ideas during his spare time.
A lifelong Commerce resident, Jonathan sees his community as one big family, one that supports one another. Growing
up in Commerce, he enjoyed spending every summer and winter as part of Day Camp, growing up with friends and staff
members who made his free time unforgettable. The reason he wants to be Young Man of the Year is to continue to create
and explore many new things within the City and grow as an individual.
“A good role model is not be afraid to show people what makes them unique; they must be able to stand up to any challenge
no matter how high the odds may be. They also must be respectful, kind and sensitive to other people's needs, yet strong
enough to achieve their goals.”
Andrew Puentes is a Senior at Schurr High School and looks forward to pursuing a career in acting. A member of the
City’s Unplugged Performing Arts group, Andrew loves acting because it gives him an outlet to make people smile, laugh
and have a genuinely good time. In addition to acting, Andrew enjoys hiking, giving him an opportunity to explore and
have adventures. It is this sense of adventure that led him to join the Adventure Club at the Teen Center. Andrew sees
himself as an ambitious young man, setting goals and working hard to reach those goals. He wants to be Young Man of
the Year in order to set an example to the young men in Commerce, to represent the City, and to be an active member in
“A good role model posses maturity, respect, politeness, chivalry, confidence, wisdom, leadership, and a hardworking atti-