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Nine contestants seek Pear Blossom crown

Nine Jackson County high school seniors will compete for the title of 2006 Pear Blossom queen Saturday in Medford.

The 16th annual Senior Royalty Scholarship Pageant will begin at 7 p.m. in the North Medford High School Auditorium.

Contestants are Christina Lacy of Ashland; Shawna Wright of Butte Falls; Janie Bennett of Cascade Christian; Alexandra Schireman of Crater; Jessie Sarver of North Medford; Joy Nelson of Phoenix; Alicia Mendoza of South Medford; Stephanie McAlister of Eagle Point; and Rachel Morey of St. Mary's.

The contestants will be judged on school leadership skills, academic achievement, community involvement, an interview with the judges, a written essay presented before the judges, and impromptu questions answered on stage. Contestants must have a GPA of 3.0 or better to enter.

The application process begins when school activities directors hand out applications to interested senior girls at Rogue Valley high schools. The Senior Royalty Committee chooses the top five from each school, and then each school selects its princess. More than 50 applications are received each year from area schools.

Each princess earns a &

36;500 college scholarship. The winner becomes queen, reigns over the Pear Blossom Parade starting at 11 a.m. April 8, and receives a &

36;2,000 college scholarship. The queen's scholarship is sponsored by Bank of the Cascades.

— The first runner-up will receive a set of luggage sponsored by Bi-Mart. The second runner-up will receive a DVD player sponsored by Gaytane's Salon.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is &

36;3 for adults and &

36;1.50 for students (free for those under 6).

Brian O'Connor will be the master of ceremonies for his 11th year with the pageant. O'Connor is a longtime radio personality in the Rogue Valley and a member of the Pear Blossom board.

Judges are Wendy Enneking, KOBI reporter; Bill Eckart of the Fruit Growers League; and Leslie Haze of Beat 93.

KDRV anchors Jennifer Seeker and Tim Conroy will ask the contestants questions on stage.

Entertainment will include the Dance Arts Center, the singing group Just 4 Fun, Talented Feet Rope Skipping Team, Ashland Mime Group, Sounds Unlimited and Eckart, a pianist.

The songs and events in the pageant will revolve around the Pear Blossom Festival theme, Southern Oregon Country.

The Pear Blossom Junior Royalty Court will be selected earlier that day at 9 a.m. in the North Medford High School auditorium.

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