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Quechan Pageant Results
December 5, 2018
The Stronghearts Society of San Pasqual Valley High
announce Keija Koteen as the 2018 High School Princess.
On November 8, 2018 the Stronghearts Society of San Pasqual Valley High School hosted their annual Native Princess and Warrior Pageant. This rich and traditional celebration of Native American culture has been a part of the San Pasqual Valley community for several decades.
The opportunity for our school district’s native youth to share the beauty of their tribal heritage through a competition integrating language, talent, and insight into Native issues is one that is unique among schools in the Imperial and Yuma Valleys. We are very proud of the numerous generations of Warriors and Princesses who have been recognized in this event over the years.
There were two contestants for the High School Princess crown this year. Each contestant exhibited tremendous grace and poise throughout the contest. Both danced traditional dances of their ancestral tribes, wearing traditional garb and eloquently responding to the speaking prompts when given the opportunity.
Unfortunately, a simple error in the course of this year’s event resulted in the wrong contestant being named as the High School Princess for the 18/19 school year. While each contestant was wonderful, this was, nonetheless a competition and the true winner must be recognized.
Five separate judges scored the competition between the two ladies, signing each of their individual scoring sheets without tallying their individual sheet scores. The signed score sheets were given over to three tabulators who separately added the cumulative scores for each
contestant. All of the tabulators reached the same final score of 135 to 114. The separation of
25 points was exactly the same for each tabulator’s totals.
The tabulation team then read off to a scribe, the names of the winners from each of the three levels of competition that evening: Elementary, Middle School, and High School – Both Princess and Kwanami (Warrior). In the process of reading off the winners names and writing the names
of the winners on the sheet provided to the event host (Strongheart Advisor Faron Owl) an error was made. The team member responsible for writing the names down, inadvertently wrote down the wrong name for the High School Princess.
As a result of this error, Mr. Owl announced the name of the wrong contestant as the winner of the High School Princess contest. This young lady was presented with the Princess Crown and Sash. The second contestant, who had actually won the contestant with a score of 135 to 114, stepped aside, believing she had lost.
Three days after the contest the error was discovered by Mr. Owl. Following this discovery, both contestants were notified of the error and an investigation was undertaken which verified the authenticity of the score sheets, and tracked the source of the simple human error.
The Stronghearts Pageant Committee recognized the seriousness of the error and felt highly remorseful over the entire incident. In an attempt to lessen the emotional impact of the error, the Pageant Committee extended to the two contestants the opportunity to share the honor of serving as Princess, and undertook plans to purchase a second crown and sash to facilitate this offer. Neither contestant chose to accept the opportunity to share the crown.
In the absence of a compromise, it is the decision and direction of the Administration of San Pasqual Valley High School, in consultation with the Superintendent of San Pasqual Valley Unified School District and the District’s legal counsel, that the contestant who was inadvertently and incorrectly awarded the title of High School Princess and accompanying crown and sash, will have to surrender the title and property, and that the true winner of the contest, Ms. Keija Koteen, will be crowned and recognized as the 2018-2019 High School Princess.
On behalf of the staff and students of San Pasqual Valley High School, and more specifically the student members of the SPVHS Strongheart Society and their adult advisors, I extend my congratulations to Ms. Koteen, and my deepest apologies for this error and the resulting impacts of the error and decision. San Pasqual Valley and the Stronghearts have already undertaken efforts to ensure that there is no chance of the error being repeated in the future.
Darrell W. Pechtl, Principal