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Merrimack Valley

June 8, 2008

Lawrence's Miss Hispanic Week makes history

LAWRENCE — As the Hispanic Week festival kicks off its 30th anniversary, they are not just marking a milestone, but also making history.

Moriah Reid, the teenages chosen by a panel of judges as Miss Hispanic Week on May 23, is the first biracial beauty queen ever elected — her mother is Dominican and her father, Scottish.

Reid, a business administration student at North Shore Community College, will preside during the weeklong festival that starts June 13. The festival culminates with a carnival at Campagnone Common and a closing parade.

Hispanic Week highlights Latino costumes focusing on the culture, dance, music and food of Latin American countries represented in the city. While the majority of its Latino residents are Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, Lawrence is also home to Cubans, Guatemalans, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Colombians and others.

To prepare for the pageant, each of the eight participants was given a challenge — to create something out of bathroom tissue.

Reid attached the paper to a slip and made a dress, adorned with ruffles and black polka dots.

"The point is it doesn't matter what a beauty queen wears because her inside beauty will shine through," she said.

Reid is a secretary at the Environmental Protection Agency. She is being trained to speak about water pollution in Latin America.

Here, the Peabody resident talks about what being Miss Hispanic Week means to her:

Q. How do you feel about being the first biracial Miss Hispanic Week?

I'm glad they allowed me to. I take pride in my Latin roots because that's what I'm most familiar with. I'm also proud of being Scottish. When I was younger, my father used to take me to Scottish festivals. Because of that, I began to play the bagpipes, which I still own and pick up once in a while.

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