SULTAN — Claire Sorgen, 17, is a senior at Sultan High School and full-time Running Start student at Everett Community College. She competed this summer in the Distinguished Young Women of Washington program in Pullman.
Question: How did you get involved in Distinguished Young Women?
Answer: I’ve been doing pageants since I was 11, and those are a little different than the Distinguished Young Women program. They have about the same parts of competition, but Distinguished Young Women is a scholarship program for girls going into their senior year. I enjoy doing pageants, and it’s kind of the same, but instead of competing and just having fun, you get something out of it and it helps you go to college.
Q: What goes into the competition?
A: The parts of competition are talent, fitness, on-stage question and self-expression, and then interview and academics. They all have different percentages that go into your final score. You do your interview the day before, and scholastics are already accumulated. The judges see your grades before they know who you are. Then you do your talent and self-expression and fitness on stage.
Q: How did you present yourself? What did you do for your talent piece?
A: I played the piano. I played “The Phantom of the Opera.” The fitness routine is choreographed prior to the competition and we all learn it once we get there. We spent a week in Pullman. Self-expression is where we get to pick a knee-length dress … and you get asked a question off your bio.
Q: What was your question?
A: Mine had to do with my favorite movie, which is “God’s Not Dead.” In the movie, there was a kid who went to class and the professor said he had to write on a piece of paper that God is dead and proclaim that. My question was: what would I do? Would I go against what I believe, because I’m a Christian? I said no, I wouldn’t compromise my beliefs just to pass a class.
Q: How did you get involved in pageants?
A: Gold Bar has its Gold Dust Days, and I think it was in 2011 they had the Gold Dust Days pageant. My family had never really talked about doing any of those, but … we had a lot of fun and afterward I found there was this big pageant world out there. A lot of girls start out doing big ones, which I think would be really hard. I got first runner up at Gold Dust Days. When you start local, and you do well, it really boosts your confidence and gives you a lot of practice.
Q: Where else have you competed?
A: I’ve competed in Tacoma and Portland. I went to a national pageant in Virginia Beach and I went to Nashville, Tennessee, for a national pageant.
Q: How did you do in the Distinguished Young Women competition?
A: I didn’t place but I feel like I did very well. I actually won overall scholastics. There are two winners in every category, and then there’s an overall winner. I won the overall scholastics and a $500 scholarship. It’s your GPA, the classes you’re taking come into play, and it also takes into consideration what clubs you’re in.
Q: What are some of those clubs?
A: I’m in Link Crew, where we help freshmen get comfortable with the school. I am the senior rep this year in (student government). I’m the vice president of National Honor Society. I was in yearbook my sophomore year and I was going to be an editor the last two years but couldn’t fit it in my schedule, so I’m just a member of yearbook. I did Running Start last year. The plan is to graduate with my (associate’s degree). I’m super excited.
Q: What do you hope to pursue after high school?
A: I’m not 100 percent sure. I’m doing communications at Everett, and then I’ve been looking at different colleges. I’m interested in political science, maybe being an attorney. I took a political science class and I enjoyed it, but it was very hard. You have to be politically minded.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: I like to play the piano. I really enjoy reading. I play volleyball, so I’m at practice a lot, and I’m also involved in track at the high school. I volunteer at the Boys &Girls Club and Volunteers of America. For me personally, it’s better to volunteer here instead of trying to be connected where you don’t live. My mom works at the elementary school, so sometimes I go there and I see people I know from the Boys &Girls Club and it’s like, ‘It’s so good to see you.’
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org