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Oswald wins Pear Blossom queen

An Eagle Point high-schooler who spends her free time visiting foster kids is the 2013 Pear Blossom queen.

Shantelle Oswald, 16, took home the crown after Saturday's 23rd Annual Senior Royalty Scholarship Pageant held in the North Medford High School auditorium.

Oswald attends Butte Falls High School, where she is a member of the student congress and a cheerleader.

She plans to attend Rogue Community College after graduating. After her studies at RCC, she plans to transfer to the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, with a goal of becoming a physician's assistant.

Oswald has made the honor roll while in high school and is a National Forensics League member.

Oswald competed against other Rogue Valley girls, including Shelby Minor of Ashland High School, Julia Ribeiro of North Medford High, Alondra Esquivel of South Medford High, Micaela Saling of Eagle Point High, Shea Fuller of Cascade Christian High, Amanda Hill of Crater High, Osmaida Balbuena of Phoenix High and Heather Lass of Prospect High.

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

Each princess earns a $500 college scholarship. The winner becomes queen, reigns over the Pear Blossom Parade on April 13, and receives a $2,000 college scholarship sponsored by Kogap, Inc.

Over the past 22 years, the Pear Blossom Festival Association has given out in excess of $100,000 in scholarships to more than 150 young women. The pageant was created in 1991 by the late Patti Bills, current pageant director Darcey Mann-Self and Val James.