University of Houston-Victoria student Tanya Dannhaus was checking her school e-mail account when she came across a university press release that would change her life.
The release was about Katrina “Kat” Jaso Alvarado, a 1996 UHV graduate who won the 2009 Mrs. Fort Bend County pageant.
“I read about her back in April, and I thought it was most interesting because I’m from Fort Bend County, too,” Dannhaus said.
At that time, Dannhaus had no idea that just a few months later, she’d be the one with the sash and crown.
“Truthfully, I wasn’t even going to enter,” she said. “I filled out the paperwork, tore it up and then filled it out again. It was my first pageant, and when I won, I was completely shocked. I didn’t even tell anyone I had entered. But I think it’s absolutely wonderful that for two years now, Mrs. Fort Bend County has been a current or former UHV student.”
Although there is not a physical pageant, contestants for Mrs. Fort Bend County must submit an application that contains a photo, detailed questionnaire and essay.
“On the day the notification letter was supposed to come in the mail, my son and I went to my father’s cotton farm to help out,” Dannhaus said. “I was in the field covered in dirt and just filthy when I remembered the letter would be arriving. I laughed thinking, ‘This is not exactly how Mrs. Fort Bend County should look.’”
Dannhaus said she put off checking the mail until the next day.
“I tried to call my husband to tell him I had won, but I couldn’t get the words out,” she said. “He thought I was telling him I ran over our dog. I had to hang up, then call him back and start all over.”
As the 2010 Mrs. Fort Bend County, Dannhaus will participate in fundraising events and public service campaigns, as well as compete in the Mrs. Texas International Pageant in March.
“I’m very involved in charity work and volunteering in my community,” said Dannhaus, who is majoring in communication with a minor in psychology. “Being Mrs. Fort Bend County helps me spread the word on the importance of volunteering and giving back.”
A resident of Needville, Dannhaus is a member of the Parent Teacher Association at her son’s school and a team mom for his baseball team. She is chairwoman of the Creekside Christian Fellowships Anniversary Team. Dannhaus is running for secretary for the Needville Little League Board of Directors later this month and recently donated 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children.
The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler or call 361-570-4350