Miguel Renteria, the reigning Mr. Cardinal, turns over his crown Saturday night at San Bernardino High School.
Miguel Renteria, the reigning Mr. Cardinal, turns over his crown Saturday night at San Bernardino High School. (Courtesy photo)

When Miguel Renteria crowns his successor Saturday evening, it will end his 365-day reign - and more than 100 events and more than 300 hours of community service.

Renteria, 17, a senior at San Bernardino High School, served as an ambassador in his capacity of Mr. Cardinal, serving the community and being an inspiration to others.

"The most rewarding part of being Mr. Cardinal is meeting all the wonderful people throughout my community," Renteria said. "It has been a great and memorable year with everlasting experiences. "

To earn the title "Mr. Cardinal City" last April - Renteria was one of 13 contestants - all SBHS juniors - having to give up many hours of their time serving the community, practicing public speaking and learning stage presence.

Saturday, he will pass on the honor.

During his reign, Renteria learned speaking and interviewing skills and confidence, said Jamie Rios, director and founder of the Mr. Cardinal program and a Bilingual School Outreach Worker for the high school,

"People have a lot of respect and appreciation for these contestants," Rios said.

"I have had to face many challenges throughout the year, most notably public speaking," Renteria said. "I have learned that challenges can be difficult to face at first, but once they are faced they become a lot easier to deal with."

At its heart, the program empowers students who were homeless, or from broken or foster homes.


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Local businesses and community groups were called on to support Mr. Cardinal 2013-2014.

In its 10-year history, the Mr. Cardinal competition has benefited hundreds of teens.

Contestants must have good grades, be on track to graduate, have no discipline issues and maintain a good attendance record.

"What I will take with me from this experience is understanding that everyone has problems to deal with. That is why it is important to be kind to one another because simple good deeds can make someone's day," Renteria said.

This year's pageant is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Sturges Center for the Fine ARts, 780 N. E St., San Bernardino. Tickets are $5 in advance; $7 at the door.

"The advice I have for the future Mr. Cardinal is to enjoy the year and relax. The year will go by faster than you think," said Renteria, who plans to attend the University of California Irvine and earn a masters degree in chemical engineering.

"This is an important time of your life to learn from. For me, it has provided great growth and I am glad that I competed. "


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