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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


She’s beauty, grace


Courtesy of Patricia Duenas

Miss Tucson Desert Rose Patricia Duenas is crowned by former Miss Tucson Desert Rose Rachel Dyckman on Jan. 17 at the Pima Community College Center for the Arts. Duenas is a pre-nursing sophomore and a veteran of pageantry competition.

Patricia Duenas, a pre-nursing sophomore, was awarded with the prestigious title of Miss Tucson Desert Rose in January. As part of the Miss America Organization, she will be in the running for Miss Arizona this upcoming June, and if crowned, she will be in the running for Miss America. But for now, she makes sure to stay on top of community service and her studies.

First competing in pageants at age 13, this Arizona native is a veteran in the world of pageantry; however, this was her first year competing under the Miss America Organization. With the help of former Miss Arizona titleholders, Duenas was persuaded to compete in the local competition of Miss Tucson Desert Rose.

“I competed in my first local and decided to run for Miss Tucson,” Duenas said. “I won my first time, and I just couldn’t believe it.”  

Being honored with the title of Miss Tucson Desert Rose does not come without sacrifice. Even though she calls Chandler, Ariz., home, living away from her family pains her with homesickness.

“My first year here [at the UA,] I was a little homesick, and being Filipino, we have a very rich culture,” Duenas said.

However, she found a group she was able to call her second family, the UA’s Filipino-American Student Association. With the club, Duenas is not only able to find comfort, but she is also able to help spread awareness of the Filipino culture at the UA through philanthropic events put on by FASA.

Being a first generation college student, Duenas makes sure she is able to help high school students in a similar situation. FASA has teamed up with her in raising money for such students by donating to The Shine Scholarship Project. Her success in pageants has not only helped students associated with The Shine Scholarship Project but also UA students involved in FASA. 

Francisco Enverga, FASA president and a UA junior studying biochemistry and neuroscience and cognitive science, discussed Duenas’ involvement in the club.

“Working with her has had such a huge impact on the club,” Enverga said. “It’s a blessing for us. The club has gained a lot of publicity. As a friend and club member, she is very hard-working, and it’s awesome to see her doing big things.”

Even with her hectic schedule, Duenas stays diligent in her studies as a pre-nursing sophomore with a minor in psychology.

She is part of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society and received an academic scholarship toward pageant costs. While she hopes to become the next Miss Arizona, Duenas holds tight to her lifelong dream of starting her own practice as a nurse practitioner.

“[Duenas] is an incredibly intelligent young woman,” said pageant director Marta Vizcarra. “She is driven and has volunteered to help serve the Tucson community. I am looking forward to seeing big things with her as Miss Arizona.”

Duenas said she is thankful for the world of pageantry and what it has helped her accomplish so far. She said she looks forward to using the skills she has learned through pageants to chase her dreams.

“Pageantry has helped me in so many ways,” Duenas said. “You can be anything you want to be and still be successful in pageants.”


Follow Lauren Renteria on Twitter.

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