Tag Archives: 1st princess

Coronation Donations – Valley Children’s Hospital

Written by: Savannah Pham, 1st Princess 2016

On Saturday, December 3rd, Quan, Alex, Jullianne, and I volunteered at the Valley Children’s Hospital located in Madera. Previously at our coronation in May, we collected donations for the hospital by auctioning off different items as well as holding a raffle for guests in attendance. When we arrived, we donated the $1300 we had raised, which hospital staff were greatly appreciative of.

We then had the opportunity to play with children in the hospital’s playroom. Since the holiday season was quickly approaching, we decided to teach the children how to make a piece of Christmas art. Children came in and out of the playroom when they had the chance, and we were able to make crafts with the children who wanted to spend some time with us. The craft we helped them make was a Christmas tree ornament that they could hang in their rooms or on a Christmas tree. The ornaments were made from three popsicle sticks. From there, the children were able to choose from additional decorations including a wide array of colorful string, construction paper, jingle bells, and pom poms.

Ultimately, this was a great experience for us to give back to the community during the holiday season and to bring smiles to these children’s faces.

If you would like more information about donating, volunteering, or visiting at Valley Children’s Hospital, please visit: https://www.valleychildrens.org

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October Community Service – VietAYA’s MAYS

Written by: Savannah Pham, 1st Princess 2016

Photo Credits: Tuan Anh Nguyen

On Sunday October 23rd, Quan, Alex, Jullianne, and I volunteered in San Jose for the MAYS (Mid-Autumn Youth Summit) workshop, held by the Vietnamese-American Youth Association. This workshop was hosted for high school students, mainly those in their local high school Vietnamese Student Associations who were rising leaders. To start off the day after introducing ourselves, we asked the students to introduce themselves and their schools so we could learn more about them. Then, Quan and I led an icebreaker to encourage active listening; as active listening is an integral part of communicating effectively as a leader. For this icebreaker, the students had to pair off and share either their happiest moment or something they looked forward to. After both students had the chance to share their stories, they were asked to repeat the other student’s story back to them to gauge how well each person had listened.
After the icebreaker, we split into smaller groups and the four of us facilitated a teambuilding activity. The idea for this activity came from the same activity we had done during our court retreat, so Alex and Jullianne chose to have the high school students do it since it had been fun and educational for us. For the activity, one of the students in the group had to instruct the other group members (who were blindfolded and instructed not to speak) how to construct Lego pieces into a certain formation. The students did an excellent job and once we debriefed, we discussed the importance of communication, listening, teamwork, and the importance of modeling these skills as leaders in their schools. Overall, we had a great time working with these students and getting to know the future leaders of our Vietnamese community here in the Bay Area.

If you are interested in participating in MAYS next year, you can read all about the summit at: https://www.facebook.com/VietAYA/

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Pageant Day Experience: Crystal – 1st Princess, Miss Talent, Miss Congeniality


The big awaited pageant day had come so quickly. It was time to cross out March 29 on my planner to see “MVNCI PAGEANT” written in all capital letters in the box right next to it. After two months of preparation, the big day had come. The night before felt like the night before Christmas as a young child. I woke up numerous amounts of times throughout the night with little burst of both nervousness and excitement.

My makeup was scheduled for 6 a.m. that morning. I had woken up feeling slightly exhausted, but the excitement for the pageant fueled me with energy immediately as I washed my face that morning. I got ready and quickly headed to my make up artist, Heidi Nguyen’s place. I left with not only my pageant look ready but also, with a big smile on my face.

It wasn’t until I entered the Campbell Theatre parking lot that I began to feel the nervousness within my stomach. The rehearsals flew by and the next thing I knew I was hearing, “starting in 5, I need you all on standby”.

I was most excited to start off the show with a traditional Vietnamese hat dance. We had begun practicing the dance since the first day of pageant practice. The dance was the perfect way to start off our time on stage and the crowd loved it. It was truly beautifully choreographed by one of MVNCI’s own previous court member, Mary Nguyen.

Standing in our semi-circle in preparation of the introduction was where I felt the most nervous. The introductions of contestants 1 through 4 seemed as if they flew by and it was my time to go as contestant number 5. My throat began to feel dry and my stomach a little overwhelmed. By the time I hit the microphone, I looked straight through the audience to see my family and friends cheering. It gave me that boost I needed and I began my introduction.

I felt so much love throughout the show from my supporters as we continued on with the program with our traditional ao dai walk and evening gown walk. Seeing my parents smiling from afar gave me the confidence needed as their presence reminded me as to why I was ever on stage.

Next, was the talent portion of the program. It was my moment to showcase everything that my father had taught me about singing and performing. I performed a Vietnamese piece titled “Vien Khuc Vietnam”, a song that depicted the situation of every Vietnamese-American born in the United States. The song was very close to heart and I was so honored to be able to share it with the audience.

The nerves had begun to kick in again when it came time for the announcements of top 7. When I heard my name and contestant number called, a burst of joy was felt throughout my body and the same feeling was reiterated for the announcement of top 5.

When it came to the moment of crowning, I had no expectations. My mind was already so content. The pageant itself was a challenge for myself to test my capabilities and I was proud to fulfill my potentials. The pleased smile on my father’s face gave me an assuring indication that regardless of whether I walked out with a crown or not, he was proud. Little did I ever expect to receive three crowns that night.

It is an honor to be the first to hold three titles as MVNCI’s 2014 1st Princess, Miss Talent and Miss Congeniality. I extremely grateful for all that I have learned throughout this experience. I thank the MVNCI staff for all their hard work towards this organization and production, and for my supporters who have provided me with so much support throughout my pageant experience. I can not wait to see what the future has in store for this year’s court and I am excited to see all that we can accomplish for the Vietnamese community.  I am forever blessed.

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