Name: Sylvana Gonzalez

Title: Miss Greater Rockville

Hometown: New Britain, Connecticut

School: Central Connecticut State University, Undergraduate pursuing BA in Psychological Science

Talent: Latin/Jazz

What was your first thought when you were crowned Miss Greater Rockville?

My first initial reaction when they announced my name, was to smile and reach for a hug from my predecessor Jojo Shields. Then upon being crowned, I cried tears of joy being joined with the class of 2019.

I had been more ready, willing and ready to tackle my year as a titleholder and make permanent waves in my community for victims, after being freed from a domestic violence experience myself. Being joined with the class of 2019 was the first step of many I had counted for in my plans for my year and I am so truly blessed for the chance to carry this into my running for Miss Connecticut 2019.

What do you hope to accomplish as Miss Greater Rockville?

My biggest goal was to organize a function that made a lasting impact for my social initiative #LoveBetter and our National partner, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

By partnering with the 1Love Foundation – a National Domestic Violence Awareness organization and our friends at Connecticut Children’s, I began step one of a lifetime of advocacy through the coordination of the #LoveBetter Gala.

As a titleholder, it is my responsibility to take the year I am provided and make as many lasting impressions as my time permits. Delegating a function centered around advocacy and fundraising for the networks I serve was at the top of my to do list.

The #LoveBetter gala served over 90 attendees accomplishing both of those goals through the deliverance of tangible ways to effectively combat domestic violence and expressing what purpose donations served our neighboring Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

I have sincere peace in knowing the messages delivered will be utilized beyond my year as Miss Greater Rockville and each participant in our function became aware of their roles as partners with promise to #LoveBetter.

I intend to continue building on this momentum and deliver the same resources and education throughout the state of Connecticut.

To you, why is Miss America still relevant?

As someone who was raised in an inner city, not often represented being of Latino descent and working throughout a middle class family income, “pageants” – to say the least, was not my sport of choice. I was a community soccer, family dance school and after school club(s) and organizations kid (As many are, and is completely okay to be)

However, growing up in this environment made seeing myself on the Miss America stage an intangible dream due to the stigmas that make us question “Is Miss America, still relevant?”

Admittedly I grew up believing the stigmas. However this changed dramatically for me when I found myself desperate for ways to pay for my college education, and struggling to navigate ways to make a lasting impact I wanted to see in the world.

In being the Nation’s leading provider for women’s scholarships and appointing me opportunity to make groundbreaking changes in my community with the requirement of a social impact, I became “Miss America” in being me, as the organization molded who that was at the cusp of my college career.

Miss America is the woman who sits behind a college chem lab pursuing a doctorate degree. She is the woman who conquered her own demons and turned them into lifelong pursuits to influence generations. She is the woman who wore yoga pants on Sunday evening and retired to suit Monday morning to make life impacting changes in her community. She is you, she is me, she is anyone with a passion and purpose to serve and I thank God immensely for a life where being Miss America is within each of us and our own divine purpose. She is as relevant as the change you wish to be in the world and I am so fortunate to relay this message to younger girls.

What has been your favorite appearance thus far as Miss Greater Rockville?

To date my favorite appearance was having lunch with the Rockville Rotary. They are a community based organization centering around helping outreach programs through funding and referential support. I was invited to serve as a guest speaker to inform the network on my goals as their town representative and in what ways, may they be of assistance.

I shared my social impact centered around Domestic Violence advocacy and partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Bringing awareness for the position I held as an ambassador for both foundation’s through the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization made the network aware that my responsibilities as a titleholder did not stop with me, but should be supported for my successor.

I reflect to this as my favorite appearance because the impression given cemented the support not only for my year as Miss Greater Rockville, but for my sisters involved in the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization. The Rockville Rotary cannot WAIT to support our next Miss Connecticut and follow our titleholders for their individual impacts going forward.

What is your favorite quote?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou. This is my favorite, for I have never forgotten the impact someone has had on my heart to pay the same message of peace and love forward. #LoveBetter  

Fun fact?

I became a certified wedding planner after watching “the Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey for the thousandth time. This was my FAVORITE Childhood movie and it was time I did a little JLo magic myself.   

Who would you like to thank for helping you get to this point?

I have an immeasurable love and appreciation for the hands extended to me throughout my journey in the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization. The volunteers and sisters I have met in my time as a titleholder have truly pushed me to move mountains I was once too afraid to climb. Thank you, my Miss Connecticut family. And THANK YOU to my family and friends for your unwavering support provided for every milestone leading me to this point.

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