Eight vie for the Pear Blossom crown

Eight Jackson County high school senior girls will compete later this month to serve as queen of Medford's 2010 Pear Blossom Festival.

The 20th Annual Senior Royalty Scholarship Pageant will be held at 7 p.m. March 27 in the North Medford High School auditorium.

The contestants are Elizabeth Westmoreland of Ashland High School, Lindsey Verret of Butte Falls High School, Amanda Gudzan of Crater High School, Nilsa Gibson of North Medford High School, Qiana Helm of Phoenix High School, Epiphany Laws of South Medford High School, Kristin Wyatt of Eagle Point High School and Skylar Anderson of Prospect High School.

The young women will be judged on school leadership, academic achievement, community involvement, an interview with the judges, writing and presenting an essay and answering impromptu questions on stage.

The finalists are selected from applicants among senior class girls at the high schools. The Senior Royalty Committee chooses the top five candidates from each school, and then each school selects its princess. More than 50 applications are received each year from area schools.

Each princess receives a $500 college scholarship. The winner is named queen, reigns over the Pear Blossom Parade on April 10 and receives a $2,000 college scholarship.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the March 27 pageant at North Medford. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and free for children under 6.

Entertainment will include performers from the Dance Arts Center and the fourth annual ballroom dance competition, with five young couples from Kranenburgs Dance Steps Studio competing for $1,000 cash prizes donated by Jeff Palpant of Smith Barney.

The Pear Blossom Junior Royalty Court, which will be selected earlier that day, will present bouquets donated by Corinne's Flowers to the princesses.

Over the past 19 years, the Pear Blossom Festival Association has given out more than $100,000 in scholarships to more than 150 young women. The pageant was created in 1991 by the late Patti Bills, Darcey Mann-Self and Val James.

For more information, call pageant director Mann-Self, at 541-840-7209.

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