Smith wins congeniality award, takes Miss Strawberry Days honor | PostIndependent.com
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Smith wins congeniality award, takes Miss Strawberry Days honor

Valerie Smith

Jessica Smith graciously accepted the award from her peers for Miss Congeniality during the Miss Strawberry Days awards ceremony in Sayre Park Friday evening. Moments later she was back in the spotlight, named 2002 Miss Strawberry Days.”This is such an honor,” Smith said after the ceremony. “I am so excited to be able to be a role model.”Her family was planning a dinner celebration following the event.Smith, whose family has lived in Glenwood for three years, will attend the University of Colorado in Boulder as a Spanish major. She then hopes to continue on to medical school to become a doctor, eventually working in Central and South America.She has tutored local Spanish-speaking elementary school students and applied her Spanish-speaking skills as a volunteer during the Coal Seam Fire.First runner up was Hayley Harris and second runner up was Piper Fairbanks.Harris was born and raised in Glenwood Springs. She is a 2002 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School and was 10th in her class with a 3.9 GPA. She plans to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville to pursue a major in child cognitive development.Fairbanks is a Glenwood Springs native and a 2002 graduate of the Glenwood Springs High School class. She plans to major in business administration at Colorado State University.Sixteen very talented and highly qualified contestants vied for the title of 2002 Miss Strawberry Days. “This is the 12th year I’ve worked with contest,” said Strawberry Days committee member and coordinator Ginger Watts. “Every year I have the privilege to meet the most remarkable young women. They’re so amazing. They’ve already done so many wonderful things and have such wonderful dreams and ambitions.”Miss Strawberry Days is a scholarship contest. The first place winner receives a $1,500 scholarship and a three credit-hour gift certificate from Colorado Mountain College. Second place receives a $1,000 scholarship and $500 is awarded for third place. In addition, each winner receives gift certificates from local sponsors.Candidates are judged on their knowledge of Garfield County and Glenwood Springs, communication abilities, community service, leadership abilities, personality, visual poise and financial need for college.Each candidate is interviewed by a panel of judges and participates in a team project. The judges observe the team as they work on the assignment, rating each candidate for their participation, leadership ability and presentation.The 2002 judges were Doug Ellis from Colorado Mountain College, Rolf Hermanson from AAL/Lutheran Brotherhood, Shannon Kyle from Mason & Morse and Valerie Smith from the Post Independent.In addition to the interviews and team project, each candidate spent time at the Glen Valley Care Center, serving strawberries and ice cream and spending time with the residents. Interviews were conducted all day Thursday, and on Thursday evening there was a fashion show at the Hotel Colorado. The contestants first modeled fashions from local Glenwood Chamber Resort Association merchants, then modeled clothing to acknowledge the theme, “Women Across America.””The best part of the whole event was the fashion show, as it was a tribute to women across America,” said Ginger Watts. “The contestants were the ones who picked who or what area they were representing, and the scripts. It was a really well done show, extremely entertaining and tied so well into the theme of `Hooray for the Red, White and Blue,’ making us all so proud to be Americans.”The awards ceremony was Friday night, and all contestants participated in the Strawberry Days Parade on Saturday morning.In addition to the three winners, other contestants included Ari Ansbro, Stacy Atkins, Crystal Carver, Rachel Caughern, Sarah Fetchik-McDaniel, Ashley Holtum, Saylee Kerschen, Amber Komula, Susie Munoz, Aston Schaub, Chelsea St. Pierre, Sarah Shepard and Bethlehem “Beth” Starr.The 2002 Miss Strawberry Days Committee consisted of Ginger Watts from American Family Insurance, Raelyn Westley from the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Tonja LaFrenz from Office Services Unlimited, Marilyn Davis from Summit Canyon Mountaineering and Joan Baldwin. Emcee for the awards ceremony was Bob Willey from Glenwood Springs High School.


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