Gaithersburg Teen Crowned Miss American Teenager Junior (PHOTOS)
Jessica Mendez, a freshman at Gaithersburg High School, plays the trumpet, dances contemporary Jazz and enjoys horseback riding.
The city of Gaithersburg is scheduled to present Mendez with a certificate of recognition on March 2 after she was crowned Miss American Teenager Junior 2015 in Alexandria, Va.
“When you step on stage and all eyes are on you, it’s magical,” Mendez said.
During the pageant, the 14-year-old teen also won first place awards in talent, fun fashion modeling, and most creative state costume.
“My costume was The Raven, named after Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem … When Baltimore regained an NFL team, the ‘Ravens’ inevitably became the team name and ‘Poe’ its mascot,” she said.
Mendez also likes to help her community. She has volunteered with Great and Small Therapeutic Riding Center for Children with Disabilities, Montgomery County Board of Elections and ConKerr Cancer- a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of chronically ill children in treatment.
She also participates in the Redskins Cheerleader Program called Spirit Explosion and has performed during half-time shows at FedExField.
The Montgomery County student is a member of the CoMMotion Teen Contemporary/Jazz Dance Company.
“I take public transportation from my high school to Germantown every day after school for classes and team practices,” she said.
Mendez believes girls should become “whatever makes them feel good.”
“I would like young girls to feel that they can be and do whatever it is that makes them feel good about themselves without having to feel boxed in by societies traditions. If she wants to play baseball, then she should. If she wants to be an engineer, she should,” the teen added.
Her role models are her mother, Hollie Miller, and Bindi Irwin- Australian actress and daughter of the Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin.
When it comes to her future academic plans, Mendez said she hopes to study veterinary medicine, but also likes forensic science.
“I like to watch Animal Cops so if in the future there is a demand for an animal forensic scientist… then I’m your candidate. I’m applying for a spot at the North Carolina State VetPac 2015 Summer Camp to get a jump start on my studies. I hope for a favorable response from them. I also plan to apply for a counselor in training job at Urbana Riding Center that I’ve been attending kids camps for the past few years,” she said.