Miss Winona 2021 is . . .Rachel Evangelisto !!!!!!!!

On October 22nd, 2021, Rachel Evangelisto, 24, competed for and was ultimately crowned as the 75th Miss Winona and awarded a $1200 scholarship. Rachel grew up watching the Miss America competition and wanted to emulate the empowered women she saw on television. She stepped on stage for her first pageant at the age of 13 and has since been awarded over $13,000 in scholarships. In addition, she is proud to have graduated debt-free with the help of the Miss America Organization.
Rachel came to Minnesota to pursue her undergraduate degree. In 2019,  she graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris, with a degree in Political Science and an emphasis on Law and is currently applying to law school this winter to obtain a Juris Doctorate in Tribal Law.
Currently, Rachel works as an Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Guardian ad Litem for the ICWA Division of Minnesota and is an enrolled member of the Húŋkpapȟa Standing Rock Sioux tribe and is proud to represent the Winona community as it has a rich Indigenous history.
As Miss Winona, Rachel will spend her time serving the community of Winona and the state of Minnesota through her Social Impact Initiative, “Foster Care in Crisis: Native Youth in Minnesota.” In Minnesota, Native Americans account for 1.7% of the population yet makeup 26% of all child protection and foster care cases – the highest disproportional rate of any state in the nation. Similarly, Native American children are 16x more likely to be put into out-of-home placements than other children. For the eleven Indigenous Nations of Minnesota, this is a dire issue to address in our state and communities.
Rachel puts community & and culture at the heart of everything she does. Throughout her  service, she will set out to share authentic Indigenous culture, raise awareness around the Indian Child Welfare Act, and create cultural connection programs to support Indigenous youth in Minnesota involved in child protection and foster care cases.
Rachel is thrilled to be a part of the Miss Minnesota Class of 2022. She looks forward to sharing her unique talent, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Social Impact Initiative at the Miss Minnesota 2022 competition on June 17th, 2021, at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN.



About the Miss Winona Scholarship Program

The Miss Winona Scholarship Program is the longest running local pageant in the state of Minnesota, and has given away over $125,700.00 in scholarships in the past twenty six years! 

The Miss Winona Program held its first pageant in 1946 when Vivian Glende was crowned the first Miss Winona. Since that time there have been seven Miss Winona's who have gone on to compete and win the title of Miss Minnesota - Jeanne Reince - 1954, Marie Miller - 1956, Mary Nelson - 1976, Eileen VanDriest - 1994, Sherry Johnson - 1996, Jennifer Ostergaard - 1997 and Megan West - 1998. Former Miss Winona's have come close to winning the title of Miss Minnesota: Angela Oevering was named to the top five in 2001, Gretchen Johnson was named in the top five in 2002, and in 2006, Pamela Chapman was named 1st Runner-up to Miss Minnesota. 

The Miss Winona Scholarship Program is a not-for-profit organization established solely to provide young women with the opportunity to enhance their professional and educational goals, and to achieve those pursuits with the assistance of monetary grants and awards. In 2010, $1700.00 in tuition-based scholarships were available. This scholarship program enables recipients to apply these grants towards furthering their education and training which will greatly enhance the probability that they will achieve their ultimate goals. Today, educational advancement, achievement and public service continue to be the primary objectives of the Miss Winona Organization in the face of changing roles for women in American society. 

The Miss Winona Program is under the direction of the Miss America Program and it is a preliminary competition to the Miss Minnesota Program. If an idividual wins the title of Miss Winona, she is then eligible to compete in the Miss Minnesota Program. If she should win Miss Minnesota, she is then eligible to compete in the Miss America Program. Each of these levels she is awarded a scholarship to further her education in the field of her choice. 

Miss Winona is a good will ambassador for the city of Winona. She is also a spokesperson of a platform she has chosen that she truley believes in and goes out into the community and speaks to school children, organizations and groups promoting that platform. This is a "job" for her and she must earn it by being that spokesperson at different community events, parades and functions when asked by her committee or community organization. In addition, she may be asked to perform her talent at an event or function. Miss Winona receives her scholarship upon completion of her year of service as Miss Winona to a successor when her year as Miss Winona is complete. 

Link to the Miss Minnesota Program