MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Strawberry Festival packed the Jennings Park Barn nearly to overflowing on Feb. 12, when it introduced its seven Senior Royalty candidates and eight Junior Royalty candidates for the year.
Kalyah Bojang, a senior at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, opened the evening by praising her large, affectionate family — she’s the second-oldest sibling of seven — and explaining her goals of going into medical science.
Forrest Brown, a senior at the School for the Entrepreneur at Marysville Getchell High School, credited his parents’ divorce with making him interested in how the legal profession can help people. The Naval Junior ROTC cadet told judges that if he could meet one person it would be Andrew Carnegie, whom Brown admired for going “from rags to riches through his drive and determination.”
M-PHS junior Madison Doty, a former Junior Royalty princess, credited her parents and her religious faith with “polishing my charms.” Like her fellow candidates, the Everett Community College “Running Start” student is heavily involved in local volunteer work, much of it through her church.
Marysville Getchell SFE senior Derek Groves is a member of his school’s Future Business Leaders of America, and touted his FBLA’s recent regional conference performance, which dovetails with his goals of going into business administration, accounts, finances or human resources via the University of Washington.
“If I were to witness bullying, I would confront the bully and be there for the victim,” Groves said in response to a judge’s question. “I’d also tell an adult.”
M-PHS senior Israel Lopez cited his own uniquely mixed heritage as “not an excuse to fail, but a chance for greater success, by cultivating two cultures into one.” When asked how he would choose to spend lottery winnings, he advocated investing in organizations that aim to “motivate kids to pursue their dreams, because everyone has potential, but not everyone has drive, so we need to help them become who they could be, instead of making bad choices.”
SFE junior Franceska “Franqui” Rojas was part of the same Junior Royalty court as Doty in 2008, and she echoed Groves’ pride in the accomplishments of the FBLA to which she also belongs. Rojas plans to enter the UW’s Foster School of Business.
Lakewood High School senior Victoria Stefoglo’s sisters have been princesses in the Senior and Junior Royalty courts of previous years’ pageants, and the multilingual aspiring UW medical student would like to see Marysville place a greater emphasis on education.
“There’s always much to learn, no matter what path you take,” Stefoglo said.
The Junior Royalty candidates for this year included sixth-graders Jessica Apgar, Olivia Corona and Erika Krause of Totem Middle School, Ivanna Garza and Cassandra “Cassie” Kunselman of the 10th Street School, Lauren Vital and Criscia Rinaldi of Cedarcrest Middle School, and Leah Taylor of Marysville Middle School.