Sheyla Ravelo Perez was selected as Miss Lehigh Acres USA. PHOTO PROVIDED
A Lehigh Acres resident was recently selected to represent her community at the Miss Florida USA Competition as Miss Lehigh Acres USA.
Sheyla Ravelo Perez, who has been doing pageants since she was 11, was chosen due to her “academic and professional interests, involvement in her community, her passion for the pursuit of excellence and her interest in empowering other young women to follow in her footsteps,” according to the Miss Universe Organization.
After taking a hiatus for a few years, she decided to get back into it this year and sent in her application which had basic questions such as aspirations, goals and what she is doing for her community.
Perez said they had a record year of applications with more than 1,000. Out of those around 100 girls were chosen for the competitions.
“Something I really enjoy about them is you meet so many like-minded women,” she said, adding that she also enjoys that it is beauty and intelligence celebrated alongside each other. “I’ve made some life- long connections.”
As Miss Lehigh Acres USA, Perez will compete for Miss Florida USA, then Miss USA and then Miss Universe. The competition is set for July 16 through July 18, in Orlando.
Two young women from Florida will advance to either the Miss Teen USA or Miss USA and then ultimately Miss Universe. The prize package includes more than $100,000 in gifts, cash and scholarships for both Miss Florida USA and Miss Florida Teen USA. It also includes such things as the official crown and sash, round trip fare to Miss USA/Miss Teen USA, an official competition evening gown, official crown portrait, fitness coaching, skin care and hair care.
“We actively encourage young women in the state of Florida to give back in their communities and advocate for issues they feel passionately towards. Our organization is committed to providing new opportunities for women in media, entertainment, modeling, fashion, beauty and more, at our events throughout the year, and the actual weekend of competition,” Girlbossing Inc. CEO Robin Ross-Fleming said in a prepared statement.
To prepare for the competition, Perez is doing a lot of prep, which also includes mental preparation. She has reached out to old public speaking coaches and is exercising and making sure all of her wardrobe is put together.
Perez also is trying to get more involved in her community by reaching out to coordinators at local events to make appearances, as well as to local small businesses to make sponsorship deals to promote products in exchange for monetary support.
“I’m eager to get out there,” she said. “I’m honored to be representing them.”
The young woman is in the process of finishing her junior year at the University of Florida as a pre-med student and will be taking the summer off to really get involved in her community.
She is pursuing a health education and behavior major with specialization in health studies and potential minors in chemistry and events management.
“Ever since I was little, I loved science,” Perez said. “I was fascinated by medicine. I fell in love with chemistry. I’m keeping my mind open. My goal is medical school and getting into medical school.”
With her love for chemistry developing, she thought her experience could really help others, so she reached out to her professor and landed her first teaching position as an assistant. It depends on which courses she is assisting in what she helps with. Sometimes it is answering questions, or reteaching material.
“It’s mostly whatever my students need,” Perez said, adding that, thankfully, she has no grading responsibility.
Perez, who grew up in Lake Placid, moved to Lehigh Acres when she started school at East Lee County High School.