Chandler High senior vies for Miss Juneteenth - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler High senior vies for Miss Juneteenth

October 12th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler High senior vies for Miss Juneteenth
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By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

Miss Juneteenth Arizona says a major portion of her responsibilities is explaining exactly what is the nation’s most recent national holiday.

“People are going to ask me, what is Juneteenth?” said Shaundrea Norman, a senior at Chandler High School. 

That’s a subject she needs to be an expert in for the upcoming National Miss Juneteenth pageant since knowing the holiday’s history will be a significant part of how she is judged in the competition Oct. 15.

And make no mistake, Shaundrea is doing all she can to win the national crown. She took the same ambition and confidence into the Miss Juneteenth Arizona pageant, and won that.

President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021. June 19 is the anniversary of the day the final group of slaves in the U.S. were read the Emancipation Proclamation and told that they were free. That came on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas. 

The National Miss Juneteenth pageant is held in Galveston to celebrate that historic occasion.

Shaundrea has two coaches to help her prepare for the national competition. Dr. Cindy Banton is her intellectual coach, helping her prepare for the questions the judges are likely to ask and making sure she knows the history of Juneteenth.

Shequan Palmer is her physical coach, helping her know how to stand, walk, and present herself at the pageant.

“Shaundrea is incredibly impressive,” Dr. Banton said. “She is a young lady who gives me hope for the future of young people. She’s very intelligent. She’s beautiful inside and out. She is involved. She knows exactly what she wants out of life at this point.”

The hardest aspect of preparing for the competition has been finding the time. 

Shaundrea has a busy schedule. In addition to her classes at Chandler High, she’s president of the school’s Black Student Union, has her duties at this year’s Miss Juneteenth Arizona, likes to dance as often as she can, volunteers with ICAN mentoring children and is working on a political campaign for November’s election.

“I have yet to be at a football game,” Shaundrea said. “I don’t know if I’m going to homecoming. And honestly, that’s perfectly fine with me. 

“I know that the things that I am achieving day by day [are important], whether it’s going to sash classes with my coach, learning the Juneteenth information with Dr. Cindy, whether that’s staying up at night to finish my homework, getting this project done or making sure my work is done aside from school with the campaign that I’m on.”

Shaundrea said that she may pursue politics later in life. But first college and most likely, law school. She is planning to tour both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, but said she is interested in attending a historically Black college or university.

But before all that comes the national pageant. 

Shaundrea said she has scoped out the competition, and while she recognizes the challenge before her, she’s confident in her abilities and wants to come back to Chandler with the national crown.

“They’re very beautiful,” Shaundrea said. “I think that we all have a pretty good chance at winning, I know it’s going to be a very tight competition. And I’m just excited to see how it all folds out. I go after what I want, by all means necessary. And I think with having that type of mentality, it does set me apart as I go after what I want.”