Newly crowned White Rock royalty (seated

Newly crowned White Rock royalty (seated

Miss White Rock ‘surprised, honoured’

Tia Berezan chosen to lead White Rock's Youth Ambassador team

A new Miss White Rock has been chosen, along with fellow royalty to represent the city as part of the 2015-2016 Youth Ambassador team.

Tia Berezan, 16, Miss White Rock Players, won the Miss White Rock crown at last Friday’s awards gala at Coast Capital Playhouse.

Chosen as princesses were Annie Lu, 16, Miss Peace Arch News, and Kitty Sun, 16, Miss Royal Canadian Legion Branch #8.

Miss Tourism White Rock, Sydney McDuff, 16, was selected as the 2015 Friendship Ambassador.

Rounding out the team – which will represent White Rock in events in the community and also through B.C. and in Washington State – will be ambassadors Audrey Woo, Claire Yen, Grace Lo and Kan Saarni.

Berezan, who is going into Grade 12 at Earl Marriott Secondary in September, said she was surprised to hear herself named Miss White Rock, after the choices for Friendship Ambassador and the two princesses were announced.

“I was just excited to hear who it was going to be,” she said, adding that she had enjoyed getting to know all the other contestants through the preliminary judging events.

“We all get along very well – everyone is super-nice and very friendly.  I was very surprised, because all the other girls are very talented. Any one of them would have done a good job as Miss White Rock, but I’m very honoured to be chosen.

“I don’t think it really sank in until the next day. It was a shock – but a very good shock.”

Berezan said the gala – and her win – was also exciting for a lot of family members who had come out to support her.

“My sister and parents and aunt and uncle and cousins were there,” she said, adding that she has three younger siblings; Connor, 14, Josh, 12 and Catalina 10.

“They’re all very happy for me,” she said.

Berezan said she was also very grateful for the sponsorship of the White Rock Players Club.

“I’ve been going to see the Christmas pantomime since I was very young. It’s a real family tradition and I love going to it.”

Berezan said what attracted her to the Youth Ambassador program was the opportunity to volunteer.

“I’m really looking forward to giving back to the community and learning a lot from the people I meet,” she said.

Although she has lived on the Peninsula her whole life, she found she learned a lot during the events leading up to the awards gala – including many facts about White Rock’s history and its appeal as a tourism destination.

A keen musician – she plays piano and sings – she has also been an enthusiastic  soccer player for 11 years, and it’s something she still enjoys, although she no longer plays competitively.

Program co-chair Debbie Ward said the gala also paid tribute to White Rock parade float creators Deanna Pedersen and Laverne Hogg, who have rebuilt the ocean-themed vehicle this year to make it more resilient for travelling to out-of-town parade events.

A revived float-touring schedule – upcoming stops this summer include Nanaimo, West Kelowna, Osoyoos, the Okanagan, Penticton and New Westminster – has created even more chances for the youth ambassadors to travel and rotate duties through the year, she said.

“It hasn’t been like this for at least two decades,” Ward said. “The ambassadors used to travel quite a bit through the program – but now they go wherever the float’s going.”

And Berezan said that’s that’s just fine with her.

“I’m really excited to travel around to all these places – and it’s really an honour to get to represent White Rock.”

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