The Northern California Cherry Blossom Queen Program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women to gain professional skills and become involved in the community. Court members will attend many events throughout their year, where they will meet community leaders, give speeches, and volunteer. Keep reading to see how their experience as a court member impacted their life!
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Cindy Sakai, 1997 Queen
There’s no doubt to me that being in the QP positively impacted my life. Looking back, I realize that even though we had much better opportunities for education than earlier generations, there wasn’t a lot for women in terms of community leadership. These days it seems that there’s more awareness about the need for more women leaders and I think that the Queen Program exemplifies those objectives. Furthermore, the uniqueness of the Queen Program, with its emphasis on community building and volunteer involvement, really make it stand out as an experience that any young Japanese American woman will benefit from.
Rene Shimada Siegel, 1982 Queen
I applied for the pageant when I was only 18 years old, and to be honest, it was a rebellious act. I was at college, on my own for the first time, and applied without even telling my parents. When my grandmother found out, she said, ‘You can’t do that. You don’t have any talent!’ I was shocked when I won, and that amazing year changed my life. I found my voice, my confidence, my Japanese heritage, my passion for helping others. I even changed my major from chemical engineering to public relations. I’m eternally grateful for my Cherry Blossom experience!