Daffodil Festival

Marissa Modestowicz from Emerald Ridge High School crowned Daffodil queen

Staff writerMarch 7, 2014 

Growing and surprises were the themes of the night during the Daffodil Festival Queen’s Coronation on Friday at Tacoma’s Life Center.

The ceremony was filled with selfies, impromptu comedy and even an escort dressed in a panda suit.

But after the fun and games, it was time to get serious.

Marissa Modestowicz, one of two princesses representing Emerald Ridge High School, was crowned Daffodil Queen after three hours of pageantry, tears and a little bit of silliness.

Stricken speechless, Modestowicz managed to utter words of gratitude through joyful tears, thanking her fellow princesses for their support.

“I wouldn’t have all these memories without them,” she said. 

The 81st annual ceremony featured 25 princesses from 24 Pierce County high schools. 

Modestowicz and her Emerald Ridge counterpart, Kiasa Sims, were both chosen to represent their school on the Daffodil royal court after what the festival called a “flawed judging process” during the school’s selection ceremony. The News Tribune published a story on the issue Feb. 7.

 During the introduction speeches, Modestowicz joked about her height – 4 feet, 10 inches short, she quipped – and said that neither her stature nor any other obstacles would keep her from growing as an individual. 

And she stood a little taller in the lobby after accepting her new title, even engulfed in her massive gold and white queen’s cape.

“This is incredible,” she said. “I’m still in complete shock.”

Piling on the surprises, master of ceremonies Chris Egan welcomed his older brother and Microsoft executive Mike Egan to the stage for something that likely made parents of the college-bound princesses giddier than their daughters. 

The elder Egan presented all 25 of them with new Surface tablets, to supplement what Daffodil executive director Steve James called an educational partnership.

In a more somber surprise, representatives from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department introduced a new partnership between the Daffodil royalty and the support organization Charlie’s Dinosaur, which helps displaced foster kids in the county. The royal court will help assemble care packs that will be sent to foster children in need.

Other winners Friday night included Miss Congeniality Nina Thach of Mount Tahoma High School, first runner up Sarah Schroeder from Wilson High School, and second runner up Delaney Fry from Stadium High School.

After other princesses spoke about growing into better young adults, they collectively performed a rendition of “We Are Family” before 2013 Daffodil Queen McKenna Erhardt said farewell to her title.

She quoted Taylor Swift, challenging the new court to embrace the “miserable and magical” year ahead.

And just like the song that came before her speech, she said the other princesses became her family.

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682
Follow Kari on Twitter: @KariPlog

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