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The Road to Miss New Jersey – Miss Gateway – Sandra Hilla

As we continue our “Road to Miss New Jersey” series, our next contestant is Miss Gateway, Sandra Hilla.

Please tell us why you chose to compete for your local county’s title?
The northeast region of New Jersey is referred to as the “gateway to freedom.” The Miss Gateway title represents New Jersey’s history of immigration to America. The symbolism of this title is dear to me since my own great grand parents came to this country through Ellis Island in the hopes of pursing the American dream. As a history major at Rowan University, I have enjoyed getting to hold a title with historical background.

What do you plan to accomplish if you were to win the title of Miss NJ 2016?
The title of Miss New Jersey would provide me with the opportunity to continue sharing and teaching students about the importance of my platform Hearts and Hands for Our Heroes, building and gaining sponsors for the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation and being a Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

I am extremely passionate about giving back to our military, and my platform is dedicated to educating others on the importance of remembering all who serve our country. I have focused on teaching elementary students about our military because they are the future leaders of America. They need to be aware and begin to understand at a young age how crucial our military is.

The Miss New Jersey Education Foundation is able to provide contestants each year with scholarships through the help of sponsors. As Miss New Jersey, I will make it a priority to maintain a relationship with current sponsors, and help build new connections with local businesses and colleges. I am committed to helping the Miss NJ Education Foundation gain sponsors so future contestants can earn more scholarship assistance.

It would be my responsibility as Miss New Jersey to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. CMNH is the Miss America Organization’s national platform and all local, state and national winners are responsible for being an ambassador in our communities to help make miracles for children currently being treated.

I am committed to accomplishing these goals and maintaining a busy schedule as Miss New Jersey!

Share with our readers a bit more about you platform and why you picked
this particular one.
I have made it my personal mission to be the voice that honors veterans of yesterday and today and preserve that respect for generations to come through action and teaching. I discovered my passion in giving back to our military because of my grandfather, Joseph Hilla Sr. As a Veteran of the Korean War, he never spoke about his heroic service in the Army due to post traumatic stress. I wasn’t fully aware of his service until his passing, and I felt guilty for never getting to thank him for his service. Our troops should never go unappreciated and it is our duty as Americans to show our gratitude for their service and sacrifices.

The most important aspect of my platform is my elementary school visits. I travel around the State of New Jersey teaching our younger generations the importance of saying thank you to our past and current military. During each visit I always prepare a special activity for the children. We make “Thank You Hero” cards to be placed in care packages for troops deployed overseas or veterans residing in memorial homes. I’m proud to educate our future leaders at a young age about our military’s sacrifices.

Hearts and Hands for Our Heroes has provided me with the opportunity to teach students all over the state about the five branches of the armed forces, and how simple it is to thank our brave heroes. I stand firm in teaching that although our contribution to these heroes isn’t as much as they given to our country, but we should continually show them they are never forgotten.

“Bravura” is an artistic word for exceptional; in your own words, tell us what makes you ‘bravura’!
I am “Bravura” because I have a strong sense of purpose. I always say my fiery red hair matches my extremely driven, outgoing and passionate personality. My eagerness to help others led me to discover a purpose of service, which is the drive behind the development of Hearts and Hands for Our Heroes. It would be a privilege to be the next Miss New Jersey, and long after my pageant years I will still remain passionate about paying tribute and thanking our country’s military. It will always hold a highly personal and patriotic value in my life.