NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The Miss Puerto Rico of Greater New Haven Cultural Pageant is back for the first time in ten years. 

Wilbur Cross High School Junior Miriam Magalis Cruz was crowned Miss Puerto Rico. Beecher School Sixth Grader Alianys Ayala was crowned Junior Miss Puerto Rico.

13 students from New Haven competed for the title of Junior Miss and Miss Puerto Rico Saturday afternoon. The contestants went through two months of intense rehearsals, learning about stage presence, dancing and the Puerto Rican towns they represented. 

“The young ladies are just getting immersed in the culture, the community service,” said Joseph Rodriguez, president of the Puerto Ricans United board. “It just feels so good to give the next generation of leaders the tools that they need so that they can continue to promote and preserve our culture.”

The pageant was at Wilbur Cross High School. The crowd was full of family and friends. The competition wasn’t just about talent or looks, it was about celebrating heritage. 

“When we promote, celebrate, understand and appreciate the gift of cultural diversity and rich heritage, we strengthen the city,” said Ann Brillante, Wilbur Cross High School Assistant Principal. 

Puerto Ricans United used to host a lot of cultural events in the 80s and 90s. Rodriguez said their goal this year was to host more events so children grow up knowing where they came from. 

Puerto Ricans United is planning to bring back the pageant next year. Registration is open in November.