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GISH grad crowned Miss Nebraska Latina 2019


Dayana Sifontes knows the value of working hard. On January 11, she was named Miss Nebraska Latina 2019 and will compete in the 2019 Miss U.S. Latina pageant in July.

Six years ago, Dayana moved to Grand Island from Cuba. She didn’t know any English, though you wouldn’t recognize that now, as her English is very clear. Dayana never gave up on learning English and excelling in her studies. She graduated from Grand Island Senior High in 2017 with honors and is now in the Medical Assisting program at Central Community College in Hastings.

When Dayana came to Grand Island, she attended Barr Middle School and was part of the Newcomers program as an English Language Learner. The Newcomers program in Grand Island Public Schools allows students new to Grand Island, and perhaps the United States, a chance to transition into GIPS classrooms.

“That was where I met Ms. Rosemary Osborne (ELL teacher),” Dayana said. “She was the first person I got to interact with.”

“I’m just so thankful that I had all of the ELL teachers to help and support me,” Dayana said. “It was such a great experience, because it helped me communicate when I came to the United States and didn’t know any English.”

In high school, Dayana worked her way to success. She graduated in the top 15 percent of her class.

“Working hard is what really helped me to pass the ELL levels and go to regular classes,” Dayana said.

Dayana never thought about pageants until March 2018.

“I was super shy,” she said.

However, she’d been following the previous Miss Nebraska Latina winner on social media and learned about the opportunity. Dayana spoke to her parents, who were supportive, and picked up a packet. After the first casting, she said she started working really hard toward it and started making her own videos to promote the pageant.

“I just wanted to gain more self-confidence,” Dayana said.

Dayana celebrates with family and friends after being crowned. She came to Grand Island from Cuba when she was in eighth grade.

“People think that to be in pageants you just have to be a pretty face, and it’s not that at all,” Dayana said. “You have to be a student, you have to be prepared for anything. You have to have good grades in school and do community work.”

Dayana’s platform is education and mentoring. She is part of Big Brothers Big Sisters and will soon get to meet her little.

“I want to inspire young girls to never stop dreaming,” Dayana said.

Since joining the pageant world, Dayana has found her true passion. Once a self-proclaimed shy person, Dayana dreams of being a TV host. She said she plans on finishing her current degree and then studying communication.

Dayana was coached by Nicolas Arteaga in Grand Island for the pageant. Dayana said Nicolas is very helpful and supportive in his coaching. Nicolas and many of Dayana’s family and friends were in Omaha supporting her when she was crowned Miss Nebraska Latina 2019. She said she is very fortunate to have her family by her side.

“What I love about the competition is that all the girls got along really well. I had a big fear of talking in front of people and modeling,” Dayana said. “When the time came, I didn’t even feel nervous at all. I just wanted to represent the Hispanic community.”

When she won, Dayana said she didn’t even think it was her name that was called. She was shocked.

“I’m just honored to be the lady representing Nebraska, and mainly the Latina community,” Dayana said. “I’m going to be their voice. I want to be the person they look up to, and that’s why I want to do my best at nationals representing Nebraska.”

Media Inquiries
Jack Sheard, Marketing & Communications
308-385-5900 Ext. 1127
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