Four high school students will display their talent, poise and, organizers hope, ability to think quickly on their feet, during the 55th Rose Queen Scholarship Pageant at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in the auditorium at Lake Park High School's west campus, 500 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Roselle.
Tickets are $5 at the door.
The pageant celebrates the students' community service, academic achievements and personality with competitions in sportswear, talent, formal wear and public speaking -- and gives them an opportunity to win college scholarship money.
The winner will reign during Roselle's Rose Parade the first weekend in June and represent the village in events throughout the year, according to Amy Reuter, one of the pageant organizers.
This year's participants are:
• Sharon Abraham, who wants to be a physical therapist and will perform a Bollywood-style dance number;
• Maggie Fuchs, who has Broadway aspirations and will present a dramatic monologue;
• Miranda Hagen, who plans to study criminal justice and will recite an original poem;
• and Sofia Rose, who wants to be a dermatologist and will twirl not one, but four batons.
At least one of those girls, Sofia Rose, has some inside knowledge about how the pageant works: her sister, Angelina Rose, is the reigning Queen.
The winner of this year's event will receive a $2,000 college scholarship, with the first runner-up receiving a $1,000 scholarship and the second runner-up receiving a $500 scholarship. The pageant committee also will award a $500 scholarship to the participant with the highest cumulative grade-point average.
Money for the scholarships comes in part from the village and in part from area businesses.
Reuter says this year's show will begin with the girls modeling sportswear while the emcees read introductory paragraphs written by each contestant ("it shows their personalities," she said), followed by the talent portion of the contest, evening wear modeling and the question and answer session.
In the latter, each of the girls has been given eight possible questions they will be asked and that will be chosen at random. No two girls will be asked the same question.
"They'll have to think on their feet," Reuter said.
In the pageant's long history, the number of contestants has ranged from three to 24, Reuter says. Several factors contributed to this year's relatively small field, she said, ranging from an earlier-than-usual date because of how booked the Lake Park facility is to that pesky polar vortex that made it difficult for organizers to get signs out advertising the event.
Reuter, however, says organizers are undaunted.
"We're thrilled," she said, "that the four girls are all top-quality candidates."