Nursing student Victoria Flores crowned Miss Fiesta
By Rosanne Fohn
Victoria Flores and her family have always been big fans of Fiesta. But this year, instead of waving to royalty from afar, the UT Health Science Center San Antonio nursing student will be “showing her shoes” in three televised parades and attending more than 100 official events as a member of Fiesta royalty.
Flores, a third-semester student in the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, was crowned Miss Fiesta San Antonio® on Feb. 28. She was selected from a field of 35 candidates representing eight South Texas counties.
She will represent the Fiesta® San Antonio Commission during Fiesta® San Antonio, an 11-day celebration to be held this year from April 18 to 28. The many events include parades, musical performances, athletic events, a charreada (Mexican-style rodeo), festivals and other community events.
Flores first thought about applying for Miss Fiesta a little over a month ago while checking the Fiesta San Antonio website for tickets to the Fiesta Flambeau® Parade. “I saw that this year they changed the rules so that Miss Fiesta is actually an internship and requires a platform project that helps the community,” said Flores, 22. “When I saw the category of Health and Fitness, I thought, ‘This is perfect! I can combine what I love to do most!’”
Health-oriented community project
Her entry proposed a health education program for San Antonio youth. “In an effort to help reach the goals of the mayor’s vision for SA 2020 health and fitness, I plan to use my background as a fitness instructor and nursing student to promote a healthy community through Zumba fitness and community health fairs to educate the public on heart-healthy lifestyles,” she said in her project proposal.
Citing high obesity and diabetes rates among local adults and children, Flores plans to increase activity levels in a fun way by teaching Zumba on all campuses of the San Antonio Independent School District with the help of volunteer fitness instructors. She teaches Zumba and other fitness classes at two area gyms.
Nursing students to be involved
In addition, working with student volunteers and community partners, she also plans to coordinate health fairs at the schools for the children’s families. “Our nursing students will be doing blood pressure checks and other screenings, and referring people to doctors in their communities for follow up care, if they need it,” she said.
Flores has been a leader in several Health Science Center student organizations.
Frontera de Salud volunteer
She is a member of the Frontera de Salud leadership team, sponsored by the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics (CMHE). “We are proud of Victoria and her accomplishments,” said Melanie Stone, M.P.H., M.Ed., assistant director of community service learning in the CMHE.
“This year, Victoria was a co-leader for Frontera, an interprofessional organization of 150 students that provides health education and services to the medically underserved population in South Texas. In both organizing service trips to Laredo and in her participation in the ‘Leadership in Interprofessional Community Service Learning’ elective, Victoria demonstrates professionalism and maturity. Her commitment to service has inspired her to continue her leadership role with Frontera for a second year, which is exceptional among busy Health Science Center students,” Stone said.
Juntos Podemos teaching scholar
Flores also is active in the School of Nursing’s Juntos Podemos (Together We Can) mentoring program. She is a teaching scholar and volunteered for a summer health camp, a collaboration with the Martinez Street Women’s Center.
“Our teaching scholars are the cream of the crop,” said Juntos Podemos Program Director Norma Martinez Rogers, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, a clinical professor in the School of Nursing. “They are students on a high academic level who review and reinforce concepts and content for nursing students coming along behind them,” she said. “Many of our scholars prepare the material as though they were instructors with slides and other materials, and they are evaluated by the students they are teaching.”
School of Nursing summer health camp
At the summer health camp, Flores served as a mentor for middle school girls, teaching them nursing skills in the School of Nursing’s Center for Simulation Innovation (view CSI video).
As part of the summer camp, Flores participated in a research project in which she helped capture nursing student feedback regarding their role of teaching the girls nursing skills in the CSI. She will be attending the 12th annual International Nursing Simulation/Learning Resource Center Conference in June to help present a poster on the project, along with mentors Theresa Villarreal, M.S.N., RN, and Laura Ecuyer, B.S.N., RN.
How will she keep up with all of these commitments? “I’m pretty good with time management, and the busier I am usually the better I do,” she said.
Right now, nursing school and preparing for Fiesta are at the top of the list. “I actually had a final last Friday (the day after the crowning),” she said. “I think I did pretty well. The school is helping me work around the Fiesta commitments, but I have to be in class and taking my tests right up until Fiesta starts,” she said.
Show us your shoes!
Luckily, her cousin is in charge of designing her shoes. According to the quirky Fiesta custom, the young women who serve as Fiesta royalty sport all kinds of crazily decorated shoes under the elaborate gowns the wear. They could be wearning San Antonio-themed cowboy boots, blossom-bedecked flip flops for the Battle of Flowers parade, colorful, bejeweled high-tops for comfort or flashing-light slippers for the evening Flambeau parade. For this reason the shout of “show us your shoes” can be heard repeatedly along the parade routes or at other Fiesta events.
“I’m planning to wear something light-up for the Flambeau, and I’m definitely going to have several kinds of shoes,” Flores said. “I’m a girl and I love shoes!” she smiled.
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