Gianna “Gigi” Gonzalez, a University of Central Florida student, on Saturday will compete for the Ms. Wheelchair Florida crown and the opportunity to travel across the state to advocate for those living with disabilities.
Gonzalez has cerebral palsy, and with her positive outlook she hopes to inspire others to feel empowered. At UCF, Gonzalez studies Latin American Studies and aspires to be a Spanish teacher.
“My motto is ‘We all have the wheel power to make change within our community.’ My goal is to show young women we can overcome anything with faith and if we believe in ourselves,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez is one of 10 women competing for the 2017 title. Contestants are reviewed in one-on-one interviews, on-stage interviews and on-stage speeches of their platform. A contestant also will be named “People’s Choice,” which will be determined by how many votes each contestant gets via the Ms. Wheelchair Florida website. Voting costs $1 and a portion of the proceeds will be divided between the state program and a personal care/travel fund for the titleholder. Voting ends Friday.
Gonzalez joined the Latin American Studies program in spring 2017 as a Knights Online student.
“She is currently enrolled in my Topics in Latin America class, where she has contributed significantly to the class through her active participation in the weekly discussions,” said Consuelo Stebbins, director of Latin American Studies at UCF.
The pageant is at 6 p.m. at University of South Florida’s Marshall Student Center. Admission is free for students and $10 for others.
Ms. Wheelchair Florida is part of the Ms. Wheelchair America non-profit organization that aims to advocate for the estimated 56 million people living with disabilities in the United States.