Stratford continues reign at Cherry Blossom Festival


By CARLY WANNA, Gazebo Editor

Video by LIZZI CLAYTON, Gazebo Assistant Editor

Hinal Patel, Daniella Chrabuszcz, and Monica Montalvo-Perez represented Stratford in the Cherry Blossom Pageant at the Porter Auditorium at Wesleyan College on Saturday.

Both Patel, a senior, and Montalvo-Perez, a junior, continued Stratford’s reign on the court with their respective coronations. Patel was crowned queen. Montalvo was named as a princess.  

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Patel.  “I’m just honored to be apart of this great organization.  I’m really happy because a lot of our Stratford students came out to support, and they gave up their Saturday night to come do that, and I’m really thankful to them.”

Patel also was named “Miss Congeniality” by the other contestants.

There were 17 young women in the pageant. On stage, contestants were introduced and answered questions asked by the pageant’s proctor.

However, the girls had attended a prior interview and several dance rehearsals to learn the choreography and formation for the opening number, “Girl on Fire,” by Alicia Keys.

In order to compete, contestants needed to be juniors or seniors in high school with a GPA of 3.0 or above.

And of course, they had to wear a pink dress.

As queen and princess, Patel and Montalvo-Perez respectively earned earned a $2,000 and $500 scholarship to the college of their choosing.

The girls begin their duty as queen and princess on March 19 with the annual Cherry Blossom Parade.  Along with the rest of the court, the pair will be positioned on a float that will travel through downtown as a part of the festival.

“That is my first official thing,” said Patel.  “I will be on a float during the parade with all the princesses.  I’m really excited because Monica Montalvo (Perez) from Stratford Academy will also be on the float with me and she’s a great friend of mine.”

Last year’s Queen, Jaedyn Ellis, and one of the Princesses, Savannah Alday, passed their reign onto their Stratford successors.  This year marked the third year in which the Queen has come from Stratford.  Chandler Peavy, Class of 2014, won the Pageant her senior year.

Contestants on stage at the Porter Auditorium at Wesleyan College on Saturday night. (Photo by LIZZI CLAYTON, Gazebo Assistant Editor)