Campus Observer

Crowning Glory

Seattle University junior is Miss Seafair 2009–10

by Tina Potterf2009_winter_alumni3_main

Jacqueline Saarenas (second from far right) with the 2009-10 Seafair court and captains.

Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Saarenas

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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 for them.”

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.



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