HAVING to give up her crown this year will be a bittersweet moment for 2011 Junior Jaca- randa Queen Alexandria Thomson, but she said the ride has been a life-changing ex- perience.
Nominations to the 2012 Junior Jacaranda Queen search will open on Monday morning and Miss Thomson urged local girls to put their hands up for the competition.
"I'd definitely recommend others do it; the Jacaranda experience gets you ready for so many things in life," Miss Thomson said.
"It's helped so much with my confidence and public speaking and also being involved in the community, getting out there and doing something."
Junior Jacaranda Queen Quest co-director Amanda Finucane said the junior search was about 20 years old and still as popular as ever.
She said it taught the candidates skills they would use for the rest of their lives.
"A lot of them improve their social skills along the way. They're coming to an age where they're starting to think about jobs out of school, so it really builds on their social skills," Ms Finucane said.
The competition is open to girls aged 12-14 both at time of nomination and also at crowning on the first weekend in November.
Nomination forms will be available from Monday at the Westpac Bank in Grafton.
The first 10 eligible nominees who fully complete their forms will become the candidates for this year's quest.