Keeping the Queen Shenandoah tradition in the family

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WINCHESTER — Kiara Laurenzano, 17, was crowned Queen Shenandoah XC on Friday, and she said that she is excited to follow in the footsteps of the queens in her family who came before her.

“It feels amazing,” Laurenzano said. “The coronation has happened, it’s been such a big lead up to it, and I feel really honored to be here, everyone’s so welcoming.”

Laurenzano’s great-aunt, Edda Sevilla Somoza, was Queen Shenandoah XLVI in 1973, and her great-grandmother, Lillian Somoza de Sevilla-Sacasa, Somoza’s mother, was Queen Shenandoah XVII in 1940, making Laurenzano part of a long family tradition.

Laurenzano said that she had a very close relationship with her great-grandmother, being that Laurenzano was the first great-grandchild in the family. Somoza de Sevilla-Sacasa’s birthday was May 3, the family said, and they imagine that she would be proud of her family today.

“We had a very special relationship,” Laurenzano said. “It’s like a huge honor to follow in her footsteps, and she’d be so happy.”

Her great-aunt said that things are very different today from when she was crowned Queen Shenandoah, but the hospitality of the people of Winchester has stayed the same, as she called the city her “little home away from home,” she said. Edda Somoza is one of the Ministers of the Crown — her sister, Laurenzano’s grandmother, being the other — and she bestowed the crown on the newest queen in the family.

“This year, Kiara is the queen, and it was my honor to crown her this morning,” Edda Somoza said. “I felt so special. [It] brought back special memories.”

Laurenzano’s grandmother, Lorena Somoza, said that she had originally hoped that one of her two daughters would one day be Queen Shenandoah, but that she is excited about Laurenzano being crowned. She hopes that the tradition will continue to future generations, and is already looking at her younger family members to see who could be next.

“I think it’s very unique and really makes me proud,” Lorena Somoza said. “I’m thrilled that they would offer that opportunity for our family.”

Contact staff writer Briahnna Brown at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or bbrown@nvdaily.com

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