Briefly interrupting the talk of budget cuts and layoffs at the last City Council meeting two Thursdays ago, 14-year-old Jaida Robles spoke about being chosen to represent Newburgh in the 2020 Miss New York Teen USA pageant.
“My ultimate goal is to represent Ms. New York State, while also being a role model to the community,” said Robles during her presentation. “Especially girls of my age. A year ago I would not have imagined that I would be given this opportunity. But with God by my side anything is possible, and I am so thankful that I have been able to represent Newburgh. I will be an example to those who don’t believe in themselves: to love yourself, be confident, and you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”
Robles participated in a few smaller pageants when she was younger but it was never a full-time passion.
Still, Robles has always dreamed of competing in a big pageant like Miss New York Teen USA. “I’ve always been shy,” said Robles over the phone. “I’ve never really had the courage to get out of my shell and try it. I just decided one day to try, to apply and go from there to see what happens.”
After filling out a brief application, she was given the opportunity to do a phone interview. Despite a lack of experience, Robles was chosen out of thousands of young women.
“I just feel like it was such a blessing,” said Robles. “Because this has always been a dream of mine.”
As a freshman at John F. Burke Catholic High School, Robles has big goals to tackle. Robles hopes to be a dentist someday. Although she hopes to become a representative of Newburgh and New York State as a whole, Robles will always prioritize her academics.
At school, her classmates and teachers are excited that her dreams are becoming a reality. According to Robles, her friends constantly ask her questions about her journey. Despite being surprised by her decision, her family is supportive of her goal to become Miss New York Teen USA.
In order to compete, Robles must raise $1,495 in sponsorship donations. These donations will be tax deductible.
“With these sponsorship donations, I will embrace this version of myself,” said Robles during her City Council presentation. “As I continue to grow and mature.” Ending her announcement to applause, Robles said she will continue to update the community through her journey.
“I’ve known the Robles family for a long time,” said Councilwoman Patty Sofokles. “I’m going to give her the first $200.” The room echoed with cheers and claps.
“I’m not a baller like Ms. Patty Sofokles,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey to laughter. “So, I’m going to commit to $100 and I want to wish you good luck.”
Robles will be competing in White Plains from January 17 to January 19. If she wins, she will represent New York State at the Miss Teen USA pageant. In addition, she will receive scholarship money to pay for hair and makeup at the Miss Teen USA pageant. She will also receive scholarship money for her education.
For donations, Robles can be reached at Jaidaaskyy@yahoo.com.