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New Mexico Senior America

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Ms. New Mexico, Lara Carbajal Lara (Wilson) Carbajal was born in West Texas and grew up on a farm in Hobbs, one mile inside the New Mexico line. She attended college with music and academic scholarships, earning as BS degree in music and education. She taught choral music in middle school and high school the first four years after receiving her New Mexico teaching certification and then accepted a choral director's position in the Friendswood Public School System, south of Houston, Texas. She spent the next twenty-six years in the Houston area.

Her choral groups won many awards, sweepstakes and "Best in Class" at choral festivals and University Scholastic League judging. She prepared her students for positions in the All-Region choirs, All-State choirs, and scholarships to universities. She directed musicals, and each year her students performed a minimum of two concerts, in addition to community shows with her show choir at hospitals, etc. She was a member of the Texas Music Educators' Association, the Texas Choral Directors' Association and the American Choral Directors' Association.

Lara wrote a curriculum that was used throughout her school district entitled, "Teaching non-English speaking adolescents English Through Music." She was chosen "Teacher of the Year" by her peers and is listed in two editions of "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" because of her student's nominations. She continued her education through classes and clinics at various colleges and universities, concentrating much of her energy toward her Master's Degree from the University of Houston. Concurrently, Lara developed an adult church choir and served as music director in a large church in Houston for many years. She arranged, wrote script, and often composed music performed at holidays and special events. Over an eight year period, her annual "Patriotic Tribute" for the 4th of July was enjoyed by thousands.

For a short time Lara left teaching and became the top national sales consultant for Princeton Industries, a fund raising company. She helped schools raise money for reading programs, etc. She was asked to give sales training and motivational talks within the company and for other businesses. She enjoyed it but felt her calling was teaching music, so she resumed her teaching career. She toured many countries in Europe three times with a Houston dance band. Independently she traveled the US, Canada and Mexico, and she sang with the Houston Symphony Chorus.

Many years prior to all of the above, a naive young woman, Lara (Wilson), was a sophomore home from college when she was coaxed into entering their first ever local Miss America pageant. In a whirlwind of unexpected events she won the title of Miss Hobbs, Miss New Mexico and competed in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. These were new, exciting and awesome (first) experiences, and she vowed to return soon to Atlantic City to attend the pageant as an alumni!

But life had other plans for Lara, Atlantic City became a distant, faded memory, overshadowed with continuing education, marriage, children, career, changes and challenges, extreme grief and tragedies, triumphs and joys. Through the years, even decades of, "life being life" she bore little resemblance to that young girl in the Miss America Pageant. As is only natural, age and maturity..especially in her senior years have molded her into a woman who views life with much more wisdom and faith, authenticity, courage, acceptance, gratitude, compassion, joy and love.

There is truly an Unseen Power, and miracles occur throughout our lives with or without our conscious awareness. Lara's life tapestry will contain the honor of representing New Mexico in the MS. SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT being held, where else? in Atlantic City! She has been granted the wish of fulfilling the almost forgotten promise she made so long, and really a lifetime, ago!

Lara views life with a positive attitude, anticipation and enthusiasm. She continues to perform and to teach music part-time. In 2006 she taught United Airline flight attendants the music that would be sung at the memorial to the crew of 9/11's Flight 93 and flew with them to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for their dedication.

Lara's life has been, and continues to be, quite full; yet she blesses the past as she embraces the present. She is content with her status as a senior woman who strives to be a positive role model for healthy ageing, body, mind and spirit. She is thrilled to have discovered the Ms. Senior America Pageant, for it is an extraordinarily wonderful venue for senior women to be with like-minded women and to show the world that it's not the years in our life but the life in our years that's important!

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