A year ago, both Nancy Sanchez and Jovana Rodriguez were named Miss St. James.

They were the first Hispanic recipients of Miss St. James.

This year, Paola Acevedo became the third girl of Hispanic heritage to be crowned Miss St. James.

“When I found out I was excited. I couldn’t believe. I was thinking about it the whole day.”

Being of Hispanic heritage, being Miss St. James means more for Acevedo, as she is now a role model to young girls within the growing Hispanic community.

“For me, it means a lot because I am Hispanic and we don’t have as many opportunities as other people do.” Acevedo hopes she can open avenues and eyes for those young girls in the Hispanic community.

“Opportunities are so minimal, I just want them to try everything. If you see an opportunity, take it.”

Acevedo has participated in a few Railroad Days events, including the Rail Run, as well as playing in the band.

When Acevedo was little, she would look up at the Miss St. James winners and hope that she’d one day be named, and be able to ride in the parade.

“I’m just looking forward to making memories with Korryn and trying new things and meeting new people at Railroad Days.”

Within the St. James community, Acevedo has been active in fundraising and volunteering, playing in the band, and being on the track and cross country teams at St. James High School, with the hopes of running and competing in college.