By Marissa Johnson
O’odham Action News
Manderee Jose is the 23-year-old daughter of Raylene Galvas and Winston Earl Jose Jr. She is the reigning 2019-2020 Miss Salt River. As the passing of the crown is coming up, Jose reflected on some of her fondest memories from her time as Miss Salt River and what she gained from the experience.
Most of all, she said, she appreciated “The experiences—learning how to talk to others, how to be in front of other people properly,” Jose said. “Being able to make connections—I think that was one thing that was really big for me. It’s one thing to meet people and to talk to them, but to make connections that will last long after your reign was something that was really important to me. That’s what I take from it the most.”
Jose looked back at what she gained during her time holding the title.
“I’ve always kind of had a hard time being in front of people,” Jose said. “So I think that helped me become a better speaker, being able to make conversation with others and to be more outgoing. Building connections throughout the year so that myself and the other ladies on the court were able to come closer. I see those girls like my sisters; I have a lot of love for them. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. They made the year for all of us much more memorable. Being able to go places and experience new things together—I think that’s what was really important to me.”
Manderee has big plans. She’s already working on her biggest goals, as she is continuing her education through Pima Medical Institute. “Currently I am a student at Pima Medical Institute enrolled in a pharmacy technician program,” Jose said.
She wants to learn how medications, foods and other substances affect our bodies.
“Something that really interested me was our bodies—being able to know what goes into them and keeping them healthy. Heart disease and diabetes run in my family, but in general in our people [as a culture]. [My relatives would tell] me to use them as an example, saying, ‘You don’t want to be like this—you want to be healthy and make good decisions that will have a long-lasting impact.’ [I’ve taken their advice] into consideration and decided for myself that I don’t want to be like that. I want to make good decisions with my body by staying active and being healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Jose continued, “After I’m done with Pima Medical, I want to [study] agriculture to learn … traditional farming. I also want to go to school to learn nutrition and dietetics, herbalism. I was actually supposed to be a student this year at Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts taking herbalism, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to meet a deadline. So that is still a plan. I really have a love of learning about what goes inside our bodies through modern medications, food and herbs. I’m really excited to attend school after I’m finished with Pima Medical.”
When asked what advice she would give to her friends and the future title holders, Jose expressed the importance of being genuine.
“One thing … is just for them to keep being themselves, to work better, to speak more and be more outgoing,” Jose said. “Speak in front of crowds. We did do a lot of events together, so I feel like we spent a lot of our reign together. So something I would say they probably would already know.”