By SARA MILLER
Kitsap News Group
Sixteen-year-old Alainna Widdifield of Port Orchard was crowned the 2017 Fathoms O’ Fun queen March 4 at the 50th annual scholarship pageant in front of family and friends.
With a goal of becoming a marine biologist, Widdifield has plans to change the world. And that all starts in her community.
“I’m looking forward to volunteering and working in the community and with kids,” Widdifield said. “I’ve already learned so much.”
Widdifield ran on the platform “Coral Reefs and How We Affect the Ocean.” Her connection with the ocean is evident as she explains the world’s impact on the blue giant. And because of her desire to preserve it, her goal to be a marine biologist, a wish she’s had since the ninth grade, is appropriate.
“I was sitting in science class and I thought, ‘I really love this subject. I love the ocean.’ And it grew from there,” she said. “I’m very passionate about the ocean and preserving our environment.”
Currently, Widdifield is taking Running Start classes at Olympic College. But when it comes time to graduate, she has her eyes set on attending the prestigious Stanford University.
“I visited the campus in December, and it is beautiful,” she said. “I fell in love with the school the moment I stepped on campus. I love the challenge of getting in, and I think I’m capable.”
Widdifield clearly was up to the challenge of becoming Fathoms queen: In addition to having the crown bestowed to her, she also won the Soroptimist community service award, the Debbie Macomber essay award, the impromptu question award and talent award, with all resulting in scholarship money.
She dedicated her talent award to her grandfather, who passed away in 2014. She performed an original ukulele song in his honor.
“I’ve been playing for a few years,” she said. “My grandpa gave me my first ukulele and I wanted to do something special for him.”
During the pageant, with a theme of “I’ve Got the Magic in Me,” Widdifield performed an original song, answered an impromptu question and modeled formal wear. Earlier in the week, the contestants presented their oral essays to the judges.
She said the most nerve-wracking part of the experience was giving a speech in front of the crowd at the initial royalty tea, where the royalty court candidates were introduced.
“I was so nervous,” Widdifield said. “It was a great learning experience. I smiled and looked confident even when I wasn’t.”
She said that was her tactic during the pageant as well — “Be brave even when you’re scared.”
“Eventually it becomes real,” she said.
Widdifield will serve the city of Port Orchard with a royal court consisting of two princesses, three junior princesses and a duchess, with whom she became close friends, as she did with all the contestants who ran.
“It was a great time and I’m excited to hang out with all of them and see them again,” she said.
Mackenzie Wright and Jamison Folden were named princesses. Three contestants were named junior princesses: Hailey Chambard, Veronica Mihai and J’Elaine Wall. Hannah Lai, a junior princess from 2016, was named duchess for 2017. She will help guide the new royal court through their duties this year.
When Widdifield isn’t serving as queen and volunteering in the community, she plays tennis for South Kitsap High School and loves to surf.
“But it’s too cold around here,” she said. “I like going to California to surf.”
It’s clear the 2017 Fathoms O’ Fun queen has a deep connection with the ocean. And that’s why she’s working so hard to save it during her reign.