By Samantha Karam
Photos by Mark Marietta
Loren Schroyer, a Waynesburg teen, knows how it feels to stand on the balcony overlooking the Senate at the Capitol building in Harrisburg.
She knows how the room’s gold railings shine and can tell you roughly how heavy the gold chandeliers are – as much as an elephant, State Rep. Pam Snyder told her. She knows that each of the senators’ seats are engraved with their names and can describe the paintings, plastered across the emerald green walls.
That’s because in October, she was invited to the Capitol and announced by Sen. Camera Bartolotta and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman before the Senate. Donned in a gown, sash and crown, she received applause, then observed an official session.
This opportunity came after she was crowned the most recent Miss Rain Day on July 22, 2018. The 2017 Miss Rain Day, Eden Rogers of Waynesburg, was the first to get invited to the Capitol for this experience. Now it is a tradition Schroyer says she’s grateful to be a part of.
“It was the greatest moment of my life,” she says.
Schroyer is the youngest Miss Rain Day in Greene County history. Now an eighth-grader at Margaret Bell Miller Middle School, she turned 14 on July 23, 2018, a day after winning the crown. Additionally, she says she is the only Miss Rain Day in history to celebrate her birthday twice while holding the title – the 2019 Miss Rain Day pageant is scheduled for July 28, 2019.
As of May 20, Schroyer will compete against three other candidates in this year’s Miss Rain Day competition.
“It really gets you prepared for life with interviewing and being able to talk to people, nothing is wasted – even if you don’t receive the title, you will gain so much,” she says. “My confidence in general has improved, feeling more comfortable in different situations.”
Greene County’s rich history is what Schroyer says she loves most about living in the area. She’s honored to get to add to it, and wants to use her time under the crown to also pay homage to past winners.
According to the pageant’s website, the Miss Rain Day pageant dates back to the 1950s as a beauty contest conducted on the courthouse steps.
“It was held sporadically until 1979 when the Waynesburg Area Chamber of Commerce began sponsoring the pageant with a local dance teacher directing it. It was moved to the Waynesburg Central High School Auditorium and became a scholarship pageant.,” the site states.
Schroyer is working with her mom to compile a scrapbook with photos of her and the Miss Rain Day winners who came before her. She still has 20 predecessors to meet, but says she plans to also make a poster board of the photos she ends up with, to present at the 2019 pageant.
“I just like meeting them, it’s cool to hear about their year and what they did with it,” Schroyer says. “I was hopeful to meet all of them and hear their stories.”
Over the last year, Schroyer has kept plenty busy. She helped out with Toys for Tots, was Grand Marshall at the Christmas parade, took photos at the Harvest Festival, read to children at Bobtown Elementary’s annual campfire, helped State Rep. Snyder light the tree at Waynesburg’s Light up Night and played math games with the kids at Jefferson’s Math Night. She also volunteered multiple times with Meals on Wheels, which was her designated community service project.
“My favorite is when little girls come up to me and say ‘Oh my gosh you’re a princess!’ That’s just so cute,” Schroyer says. “I think I’m a pretty positive person. It makes me feel great to know that they have something like that to look up to.”
Schroyer says the biggest challenge she faced was overcoming her shyness – she’s always been more reserved.
“I had to learn to get over that,” she says.
Her first time giving a public speech was in front of the Rotary Club of Waynesburg in November. She was nervous because the room was small but crowded. In March, she also gave a speech before the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.
She now is more comfortable speaking to new people and speaking in front of crowds.
“Proud more than anything, because I have done so many things to help my community,” she says of the past year. “I had done community service before this year, but definitely not as much as this year.”
Schroyer has always been interested in the Miss Rain Day pageant. She grew up watching past queens at the annual Rain Day parade, was the pageant’s crown bearer at age 7 and always knew she wanted to wear the crown and sash one day.
“Just seeing everyone so poised at such a young age, I just knew I wanted to do that,” she says. “I hope to do more pageants – Coal Queen, one day.”
When she’s not attending community events or in school, dancing occupies most of her time. She calls her dance studio, For the Love of Dance in Carmichaels, her second home and spends 12-14 hours a week there practicing all genres – though contemporary is her favorite. At the 2018 pageant, she performed an acro-contemporary routine.
“I’ve learned so much about dance and in life,” she says.
From June to August, she will be at dance camps in multiple states, then will be in Michigan for an acrobatics convention at the end of the summer. Beyond competing in more pageants and continuing to dance, Schroyer says her hope for the future is to do more community service and continue to help others.
She feels grateful to Jeanine Henry, the pageant’s treasurer; Emilia Bertugli, president of the Miss Rain Day pageant; her family and her dance teacher for supporting her throughout the year.
“I (also) want to thank the community for letting me help and volunteer,” she says. “It makes me feel good that I could help make their day a little brighter.”
She has hopes of becoming a nurse anesthetist and wants to dedicate her life to helping people.
“It’s definitely been the best year of my life,” she says of her reign as Miss Rain Day. “I’m really proud that I could accomplish this at such a young age.”