Ciaran Shaw, 8, is a 3rd-grade student at Magnolia Student Center who is a reigning queen for the Miss Norco pageant and a National Junior for the Miss Route 66 pageant. As her mother, Mary Shaw, explained, “These are ‘natural’ pageants that are judged on poise and presence as well as speaking and require quite a bit of community service.”
Ciaran, Mary continued, has received Certificates of Recognition for her community service from the cities of Corona and Norco, and has assisted at several Route 66 events. She said, “Ciaran enjoys the community service opportunities she gets through these pageants and really loves the friends she makes every year.”
Ciaran is in her first year at Magnolia, and also attended Kindergarten at another Springs site. The family likes Springs, Ciaran said, because “I learn at my own pace and [with a curriculum that is] personalized to my needs. We also like the fact that the program is work-based and not attendance-based because there are so many opportunities to learn outside the classroom.”
Ciaran entered her first Miss Norco pageant shortly before turning age 5. She recalled, “I cried on stage because I forgot what I was going to say, but the emcee and the judges just kept me talking and asked me to sing for them. I love putting on a beautiful gown, and meeting all my new pageant ‘sisters’ every year.”
Challenges in the pageants, she said, include writing introductory speeches and answering on-stage questions. She noted, “There are 10 different questions you could be asked, and even though you have read them and thought about them, it’s so much harder to answer when you are up on stage.”
Ciaran has acquired poise and confidence from her experiences with the pageants, and has also learned the importance of volunteerism. She said, “Some of my favorite experiences were serving free Thanksgiving dinner, collecting food and toys for a family that just lost their mother to breast cancer and riding the Norco parades.”
Mary describes the pageants as “natural, low-glitz” events; younger children do not wear make-up and there is “very little bling.” Contestants are judged in the Miss Norco pageant based on their interviews with the judges, their speeches and their answering of on-stage questions. Miss Route 66 is a one-day pageant, with contestants judged on their presentations and speeches. Ciaran won the talent division in the Miss Norco pageant this year for performing a lyrical dance piece.
Outside of school and pageants, Ciaran enjoys competitive dancing, horses, art, cooking, travel and family time. She hopes one day to be a veterinarian because “I don’t ever want an animal to be sick or in pain.”