Junior Orange Bowl Crowns Royal Court Queen and Princesses
From left to right: Princess Sloane Rice, Queen Leia Schwartz, and Princess Valerie Katz - The 2010-2011 Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court
(CORAL GABLES, NOV 2010)- Their eyes were glimmering when the judges called out their names. The three young ladies chosen to reign over the 2010-2011 Junior Orange Bowl Festival were Queen Leia Schwartz, age 14, and Princesses Valerie Katz and Sloane Rice, also both ages 14. Together, they make up the Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court. The Queen and Princesses of the 2010-2011 Junior Orange Bowl Festival are expected to reign over all the events, especially the 62nd Junior Orange Bowl Parade. During the Festival, the Royal Court will participate in various award ceremonies and serve as goodwill ambassadors to all the youths participating in the Festival’s events. The Royal Court’s duties culminate at the annual Junior Orange Bowl Parade, where the winners will ride on a float through the streets of Downtown Coral Gables on Sunday, January 2, 2011.
The Royal Court Final took place at the Miami Elks Lodge # 948, and this year there was a record-breaking 26 finalists. All Royal Court finalists were chosen from one of the three preliminary selections in order to qualify for the final. The finalists were judged on a variety of different aspects such as personality, academics, community service, and poise.
“This 60-year-old tradition is much more than a beauty pageant,” said Enid Miguez, chair of the JOBC Royal Court.
Queen Leia, who attends Coral Reef Senior High School, has been an NBC 6 News High School Athlete of the Week as well as a Jeopardy! Kids Search National Finalist. In addition to her academic and athletic accomplishments, she is a very talented singer and songwriter, helping to raise over $100,000 as a featured performer for a number of different charity events. Leia has been a poster child for the American Lung Association for nine years and teaches golf to kids who suffer from Down Syndrome. She is also in the process of growing her hair out for the fourth time to donate it to Locks of Love, a non-profit charity that makes wigs for youths who have lost their hair due to medical conditions. “I am looking forward to representing the Junior Orange Bowl Committee in all their events and doing everything I can to help the kids,” said Leia after being crowned Queen. Leia was also the winner of the “Give-A-Hand” Award, which was given to the finalist who wrote the most outstanding essay on community service commitment.
“As you can see from her involvement in the community, Leia Schwartz is the perfect candidate for this award. I am extremely proud of her and truly amazed with her level of commitment to the community,” said Miguez.
Princess Valerie Katz, a student at Mast Academy, is an accomplished artist and debater along with being a member of the Mast Academy swimming and water polo teams. She received the only Gold Key in her age group at the 2010 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her excellence in visual arts. “I am so grateful to be crowned Princess and I look forward to the lifelong relationships I will make,” said Valerie.
Princess Sloane Rice, a 9th grader at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, is on the varsity swim team and a devoted member of the Key Club. She is also part of her church’s youth group, which takes monthly volunteer trips to the Homeless Assistance Center. “I was so happy when I heard my name called and I can’t wait to interact and help youths with disabilities,” said Sloane.
The Junior Orange Bowl Royal Court also named Briana Paiewonsky, a student at Killian High School, this year’s Miss Congeniality. Her fellow Royal Court finalists nominated Briana for her vibrant attitude and outgoing personality backstage throughout the Royal Court Search Final.
Many of the young ladies who participate in the Royal Court Final end up discovering their passions in life and go on to pursue them, becoming prominent figures in society. The JOBC hopes to encourage the young ladies to be future leaders in the community and open the doors to a brighter future. Past winners have become successful businesswomen as well as influential community leaders and there is no doubt that this year’s Queen, Leia Schwartz and Princesses Valerie Katz and Sloane Ricewill continue that tradition.
The JOBC would like to thank all sponsors of the Royal Court Search for their dedication and support. Sponsors for the Royal Court Search include: Alberto Romeu Photography, Aon Private Risk Management, Coral Gables Firefighters’ Benevolent Association, Cookies by Design, GBS Beauty Supply, Miami Community Newspapers, Miami Elks Lodge #948, Slesnick & Associates, Snow’s Jewelers, The Giving Tree, and YW Associates. Without their help, the event would not be possible.
The Junior Orange Bowl Festival is possible with the support of the City of Coral Gables, Miami Children’s Hospital, The Orange Bowl Committee, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, and Board of County Commissioners. The JOBC, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that serves the community of South Florida and the Youth of the world by providing opportunities for wholesome, competitive and multi-cultural experiences. For more information, please call the Junior Orange Bowl Committee at 305-662-1210 or visit our website at www.jrorangebowl.org.