Valera receives her crown from 2019 Miss Collegiate America Callie Rice.
On Saturday night in Arkansas, Kauluwena class of 2017 alumna Ronelle Kahanuolaikealomahina Valera was crowned as Miss Collegiate America. See the winning moment in the video below.
In January of this year, Ronelle had competed and won Miss Hawaiʻi Collegiate. A few months later, she learned that the college she had been attending, Concordia University, would be closing, forcing her to need to find a new college for her senior year. She persisted throught that difficult and stressful situation while continuing to server her community in that role demonstrating tremendous grace and optimism through it all.
"This would not have been possible without so many people. I am so grateful to every single person who has made this possible," shared Valera.
She is currently a student at Warner Pacific University in Portland, OR where she majors in social work.
Valera has worked in San Francisco with the homeless through Project Open Hand and in Costa Rica on a mission. In July, as Miss Collegiate Hawaiʻi, she created and donated busy boards to residents of the Yukio Okutsa Veterans Home in Hilo. She also launched a campaign against bullying.
The Miss Collegiate America Pageant will take place in Little Rock, Arkansas on September 5-12, 2020. This competition exists for the purpose of providing personal and professional opportunities for girls currently enrolled in a University, Trade School, Beauty School, or a continuing education program. Winners were judged on Interview (40 percent), Evening Gown (40 percent), and Fashion Runway (20 percent).
In taking home the crown, Valera also won a new JL Jeep Wrangler Sport and $100,000 in scholarships, trips, wardrobe, travel, service, and additional prizes.
Hoʻomaikaʻi e Ronelle on this well-deserved distinction. We hope that this accomplishment will make this year even more special and are so proud of the exceptional young woman you are. I Mua!
You can follow Ronelle's journey as Miss Collegiate America on Instagram at @misscollegiateameria. You can also see Ronelle's work as Miss Hawaiʻi Collegiate on instagram at @misshawaiicollegiate2020.