Alexandria is the 19 year old daughter of Melissa and Jose Cruz. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Alexandria is a 2021 graduate of Manatee High School and enjoys cheerleading and coaching. She attends the State College of Florida and is earning her Associate in Arts Degree. Her future plan is to transfer to a university and pursue a career as an Anesthesiologist.
Sponsored by Manatee Pressure Washer
Kaylah is the 19 year old daughter of Andrea Gunst. Kaylah has blonde hair and hazel eyes. She is a 2021 graduate of Lakewood Ranch High School. Her hobbies include horseback riding, ATV riding, boating, river rafting, and advocating for type 1 diabetes. Kaylah currently attends the State College of Florida and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In the future, she plans to become a Travel Nurse.
Sponsored by Delta Southern Construction
Briana is the 19 year old daughter of Dennis and Alison Simmons. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. Briana is a 2021 graduate of Palmetto High School, and enjoys baton twirling, attending church, and going to the beach. She is currently attending the State College of Florida where she is earning a degree in Therapy and Social Work.
Sponsored by EVO Training Center
Presley is the 19 year old daughter of James and Daniale Blunkall. She has blonde hair and green eyes. Presley graduated from Wilson Central High School in 2021 and enjoys singing and volunteering her time to local organizations. She is currently working on obtaining her real estate license and hopes to become a real estate agent in the near future.
Sponsored by Jaxx Sports Bar & Grill
Julian is the 19 year old daughter of Vance and Tami Grover. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. Julian graduated Palmetto High School in 2022, her hobbies include singing and dancing. Julian is currently attending the State College of Florida where she is earning a degree in Nursing. She hopes to pursue a career as a Travel Nurse.
Sponsored by Grover Structural Solutions
Merissa is the 19 year old daughter of Chris and Curtis Mahoney. She has blonde hair and hazel eyes. She graduated from Lakewood Ranch High School in 2022 and has a passion for the agriculture industry and showing pigs competitively. She is currently attending Hillsborough Community College where she studies Forensic Science and majors in Criminology. Her future goal is to go into the FBI or CSI.
Sponsored by Discount Lock and Key
Brianna is the 20 year old daughter of Melissa and Tyler Stevenson. She has brown hair and green eyes. She is a 2021 graduate of Palmetto High School and enjoys line dancing, traveling, and watching dog shows. Brianna is currently a preschool teacher and is furthering her education at the State College of Florida, where she is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. She hopes to one day teach first grade.
Sponsored by Coast Motor Company
Shea is the 18 year old daughter of Holly and Shawn Stockton. She has strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. She graduated from Manatee High School in 2022 and loves competitive horseback riding and race cars. Shea is a self-employed face painter for local events and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is majoring in Criminal Justice and hopes to become a Police Officer for her community in the near future.
Sponsored by Stockton and Sons, LLC.
Rylan is the 18 year old daughter of Rich and Tiffany Walker. She has brown hair and hazel eyes. A 2022 graduate of Braden River High School, Rylan enjoys giving back to her community, telling jokes, and listening to 60s-80s rock music. She is currently attending the State College of Florida and plans to transfer to the University of South Florida where she will dual major in Marine Biology and Physical Therapy. She hopes to pursue a career at the Florida Aquarium.
Sponsored by Eagle Nurse Consulting
For over 75 years, the De Soto Heritage Festival has celebrated the intellect and talent of a select group of special young women from the community by electing them to the De Soto Queen’s Court. Each member of the court receives a scholarship and serve as goodwill ambassadors for the Hernando de Soto Historical Society and Manatee County through the following spring.
Candidates are recommended by the community and then the Hernando de Soto Historical Society makes its choices on the basis of character, scholastic ability, high morals, and personality.