Seattle University junior is Miss Seafair 2009–10
Jacqueline Saarenas (second from far right) with the 2009-10 Seafair court and captains.
Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Saarenas
Blue Angels, hydroplane races and
those infamous pirates—all staples of summer in Seattle and the quintessential
summertime festival, Seafair. Another long-standing tradition of the
community-minded, weeks-long celebration is the crowning of Miss Seafair, an
honor bestowed on a young woman who is community and academically minded,
accomplished and poised. For the second consecutive year a Seattle University
student has been awarded the title—a yearlong post packed with public
appearances, speaking engagements and much handshaking with locals and dignitaries.
The 2009–10 Miss Seafair, Jacqueline Saarenas, a junior psychology major,
carries on the SU tradition as successor to last year’s Miss Seafair, law
student Kristen Tateishi.
“I was completely surprised,” says Saarenas, a Seattle native, of her
coronation. “I was so nervous and had all of these butterflies. When I heard my
name, it didn’t sink in at first. I thought, ‘Did they just say my name?’”
Miss Seafair is a scholarship-based program of the organization that dates back
to 1950. According to Seafair, it was started as a way to select young women to
serve as ambassadors to spread the word about the festival and make appearances
at various events around the region. Today, Miss Seafair fulfills these duties
while honing her skills in public speaking, presentation and leadership.
For Saarenas, an introduction to Seafair came through her selection as a
representative for the Seattle Filipino community, which led to her
participation at Seafair-sponsored events.
Her selection as Miss Seafair is especially meaningful, Saarenas says, because
she is only the second Filipino to receive the honor and the first to do so in
more than 30 years.
“I’ve always been a very proud Filipino woman,” Saarenas says. “I wanted to be
there for my community and carry myself in a way to be a good representative
The next year will be a busy one for Saarenas, who will juggle her studies, her
obligations as Miss Seafair, her extracurricular activities and service in the
community—she volunteers for organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“Seattle University brought out of me this desire to give back to the
community,” says Saarenas, who plans to attend graduate school and one day work
as an educational psychologist.