Senior psychology major Zoila Goya was crowned 2023 National American Miss Virginia at the state pageant held on August 14 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Reston, Virginia. She received her official state crown, banner, and trophy, and an invitation to compete at the National American Miss Pageant during Thanksgiving week in Orlando, Florida. At the state pageant, Goya was also named the winner of Miss Spirit, Casual Wear, Spokesmodel, Runway Model, and Feature Page. She was also fourth runner-up for Photogenic and Top Model.   

Woman with short black hair standing in a black dress with  a white/red sash across her with "Miss Virginia" and a crown on her head.
Zoila Goya

Goya, from Woodbridge, Virginia, attended MSSD for two years and graduated from Christ Chapel Academy in Woodbridge in 2020. She is of Ecuadorian descent. She aspires to become an audiologist to continue to support the deaf and hard of hearing community. Her favorite activities include reading, shopping, and makeup.    

“Participating in this pageant was an experience like no other, one that I will never forget. I had the opportunity to meet other inspiring, strong, and determined young women.  This experience taught me the importance of how you carry yourself, especially as a Latina who is hard of hearing. It was terrifying for me to get out of my comfort zone; however, it helped build my confidence. We don’t know what we are capable of until we try it, and that is just what I did: I tried something new which turned out to be an exciting journey.” 

According to the National American Miss website, their state and national pageants are for “Today’s Girl” and “Tomorrow’s Leaders.” “The pageant program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise, and presentation. Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning new skills, learning good attitudes about competition, and setting and achieving personal goals. The pageant seeks to recognize the accomplishments of each girl while encouraging her to set goals for the future!” 

Congratulations and good luck, Zoila! 


Woman with long curly black hair wearing a feathered strapless black dress, one hand under her chin, smiling.
Anjel Piñero

Anjel Piñero, ’22, also competed in a pageant this summer. She finished 23rd of 174 contestants in the Miss New York USA pageant, held August 4-6 in White Plains, New York. Piñero’s platform was supporting deaf women. She represented New York’s 4201 Schools, the coalition of state school programs for deaf and hard of hearing students. She is a graduate of New York School for the Deaf, one of the 4201 Schools. 

A social influencer with a large following, Piñero plans to enter the competition again next year. In the meantime, she is available for school visits. Reach out to her at 


Gallaudet women students may want to consider entering the Miss District of Columbia Pageant. The current Miss District of Columbia, Jude Maboné, learned to sign because she grew up with a deaf friend. She would be happy to talk with anyone who is interested in entering the pageant. Contact her at

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