With a new crown on her head and her birthday right around the corner, Claire Sorgen is having a great year so far.
The 13-year-old Sultan Middle School student currently holds the title of Miss Washington Junior National Teenager; a title which earns her the privilege of competing on a national level with the America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization (ANTSO) in July. Formerly the International Junior Miss (IJM) Pre-Teen Washington, Sorgen passed that crown along to her successor in February and won her new crown in March, within about a month’s time span.
“I was very happy about that,” said Sorgen, who will be 14 on May 31.
During the national competition, which will be held in Nashville, Tenn., Sorgen will compete against approximately 30 other girls for the title of America’s Junior National Teenager. The competition will award her significant scholarship opportunities.
The ANTSO pageant is different than the IJM pageant she participated in last year. Sorgen said that she chose to become involved in ANTSO because she liked the way the program placed a greater emphasis on academics and community service.
With the ANTSO competition, 30 percent of her score will be based on her academic abilities and her contributions to the community.
“I really like that because it really enforces being a good person,” said Sorgen.
As far as her academics are concerned, Sorgen has maintained a 4.0 grade point average consistently throughout her career at Sultan Middle School. She is involved in sports and while she enjoys basketball and track, volleyball is truly her passion. She hopes to continue playing volleyball through high school and on into college.
Sorgen is looking forward to attending Sultan High School in the fall.
“I’m nervous but I’m excited. I like being at the top of the school, being in 8th grade, so it’s going to be weird going from the top of the school to the bottom of the school,” said Sorgen. “But I’m really excited because the high school seems like a lot of fun and there’s a lot more choices for classes.”
Also musically inclined, Sorgen plays the clarinet and is excited to become involved with the high school’s award-winning music program, led by Jill Sumpter.
After high school, Sorgen hopes to be able to attend the University of Washington and wants to study fashion design.
For the next few months, Sorgen intends to focus on making appearances, a requirement of her current title, and obtaining her community service hours. She is currently planning on doing some volunteer work with the Boys and Girls Club in Sultan.
During the national pageant in July, Sorgen will compete in the main competition which includes different categories like formal wear, personal expression, academic and community service, and on-stage question. She is also planning on participating in several optional competitions including supermodel, photogenic and speech.
Over $40,000 in college scholarships will be awarded throughout the competition.
Sorgen really enjoys the camaraderie that she has found in doing pageants. During the state competition, which determined who from Washington will compete at the national pageant in July, she became very close with two winners from different divisions. Through the stress of competition and the elation of success, strong bonds are formed between the girls.
“You automatically become sisters when you win the titles,” said Sorgen.
Claire’s mom, Gini Sorgen, will travel to Tennessee in July to watch her daughter compete in the national pageant.
“For me, as a parent, I’m super excited about this pageant just because of the focus it has on the interview and academics,” said Gini Sorgen. “She likes to put on the pretty dress. I like the other part.”