Although she didn’t think she wanted to be a beauty queen, Coral Gables High School senior Darlene Fajardo entered the Miss Hispanic International 2012 contest.
“I really didn’t want to do that. My mother said ‘you’re tall, you’re pretty,’” Fajardo said, adding that she was surprised that is was actually a positive experience.
“They taught me how to walk, how to talk; they helped me choose my outfits; they taught me to do my makeup,” she said. “It was great. I’m glad I won. It opened a lot of doors.”
In fact, being Miss Hispanic International was the subject of her common application essay.
“It helped me grow. It helped me mature,” Fajardo said.
In her high school career, Fajardo has earned approximately 1,400 community service hours. She interned at the University of Miami’s Miller School for Medicine, working on the Miami portion of a study on Latinos and health that also was being conducted in San Diego, Los Angeles, the Bronx (New York City) and Chicago.
“Each city has a data base of 2,000 participants,” she said.
This year she interned in an orthopedic doctor’s office, It is the doctor who took care of her when she broke her arm playing volleyball her freshman year.
“Hopefully I get to watch some of the cases he has,” she said. “I’ve seen ACL’s and shoulder surgeries. I get to go with him to clinics. And see the patients from surgery come back.”
At school, Fajardo is president of Key Club. Members do fundraising walks, collect donations of food and other goods for community organizations and write letters to the men and women in the military services.
She is a member of the National Honor Society and is on the varsity volleyball team. The team did well this year, beating rivals Miami Beach and Coral Reef.
In college, Fajardo wants to major in sociology and minor in public health.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld