Fleeting decision for NDP junior ends with near pageant win

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Maddie Schwister, center, poses with Neda Danilovic, 2015 Miss Arizona Teen USA, left and Maureen Montagne, 2015 Miss Arizona USA. (photo courtesy of Schwister family)
Maddie Schwister, center, poses with Neda Danilovic, 2015 Miss Arizona Teen USA, left and Maureen Montagne, 2015 Miss Arizona USA. (photo courtesy of Schwister family)

She didn’t get the crown, but a Notre Dame Preparatory junior certainly clothed herself “with strength and dignity,” as the Psalm goes.

Madeline Schwister was the only contestant in the top five finishers for the 2016 Miss Arizona Teen USA pageant to do her own hair and make-up.

“Most girls hired people to do it for them,” she said.

Entering the pageant to begin with was Schwister’s idea, somewhat of a fleeting decision. She simply wanted to try something “new and different.”

“I always loved watching the Miss Teen USA pageant on TV and thought it would be something fun to try,” said Schwister, who had no coaching or previous pageant experience. At the ripe old age of 17, she is considered old for a first-timer.

From filling out the application, to working out, eating right and getting ready for competition, the teen did everything herself. Her trial run was a success.

Schwister, a St. Patrick parishioner and member of the school’s undefeated JV soccer team, surprised herself and her parents by finishing as third runner-up in the 20016 pageant held in November of 2015. “We were so proud of her and were really surprised to see that she has this special talent,” said Suzanna Schwister, Madeline’s mom.

The younger Schwister credits her theology teachers Fr. Ron Hurl, TOR, and Br. Richard Fornwalt at NDP for helping her to improve her public speaking ability. “In class we learned to express our opinions about God and share them with people having different opinions than our own,” Schwister said.

Although she didn’t win a scholarship, Schwister did gain confidence and made several friends through the pageant process. She plans to compete again in the 2017 miss Arizona Teen USA pageant, which despite its title, will be held later this year.

Schwister is the third NDP student to place in the top three in the Miss Arizona Teen USA Pageant. Emerald Zellers won the title in 2006 and her sister, Alexa Zellers, won in 2012.

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