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Monday, June 19, 2017


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The 2017 Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen is Miss Williamson Abbey Carleton (center). Second runner-up is Miss Athens Sarah Montrose (left) and first runner-up and Miss Congeniality is Miss Montoursville Caroline Hernandez (right).

WELLSBORO—Miss Williamson Abbey Carleton was crowned the 2017 Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen during the Saturday, June 17 coronation ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro. She was presented with a $1,500 scholarship to the college of her choice.

Named first runner-up was Miss Montoursville Caroline Hernandez who received a $750 scholarship and also a $250 scholarship for being named Miss Congeniality by the other queen candidates. Second runner-up was Miss Athens Sarah Montrose who was awarded a $500 scholarship.

“We were unanimous on the top three,” said Oliver Richard Bartlett of Hughesville, a former Tioga County Commissioner who serves as Laurel Queen judge coordinator. “Each candidate’s answer to her question always plays a role in our final decision,” Bartlett added. Other judges included: Renata Stiehl, news director and anchor with WENY-TV, Horseheads, N.Y.; Jacob Michaels with 93.3 WBZD-FM, Muncy; and David Cohick, director of Tioga County Emergency Services in Charleston Township. All four have served as judges for over five years. Lisa Mazzarella with 89.9 WVIA-FM, Pittston, Pa. was a first-time judge.

There was a larger crowd than last year,” commented Bartlett about the Saturday afternoon Laurel Parade. “People were sitting six or seven deep in some places.”

“I was completely shocked and very humbled by the entire experience,” said the newly crowned Laurel Queen. “I am proud that I was able to represent my school in such a good way.”

The 10 semi-finalists were each asked one question during the coronation ceremony. “I was asked about spending cuts in education and what programs should be kept and which high school programs helped me, said Miss Carleton. She pointed to two areas of study that helped her, shop and art. “When you start cutting out shop classes for students that learn that way, you are taking away their quality of education. Once you take out art classes, you are trying to put students in the same box and that’s not how education works,” she noted.

“What I enjoyed most about the weekend was definitely meeting all of the other Laurel Queen candidates. Two of the girls, Miss Warrior Run Lanie Urbanski and Miss Millville Ariana Bish are also going to Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. Move-in day is Aug. 24,” Miss Carleton said. She is planning to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology secondary education and become an elementary guidance counselor.

At 4 a.m. Sunday morning, the newly crowned Laurel Queen and her family left for vacation in North Carolina. She will go back to work upon her return.

The 2017 Laurel Queen is the daughter of Raquel and Mark Gee of Tioga Township and Carrie and James Carleton Jr. of Charleston Township.

She was on honor roll all four years at Williamson Junior-Senior High School in Tioga Junction, was secretary of the Williamson Chapter of the National Honor Society, served as Class of 2017 president as a sophomore, junior and senior and was a member of the Williamson Environmental Service Organization as a freshman and an executive committee member as a sophomore, junior and senior.

Representing Montoursville Area High School was Miss Caroline Hernandez, a daughter of Marta and Carlos Hernandez of Montoursville. "I was shocked and proud to be named Miss Congeniality by my peers," she said. "I wasn't expecting it. All of the girls were so sweet. Extreme happiness was my first reaction and then lots of tears. I was even more shocked when I was named first runner-up. I was acknowledged by my peers and by the judges. It was amazing. I can't even put it into words," she added. "All of us (Laurel Queen candidates) became really close in a short time. The activity I enjoyed the most was the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. That was the first time I had ever seen it. My experience as a Laurel Queen candidate will always be something I cherish," she added.

Miss Hernandez will attend classes at American University in Washington, D.C. beginning on Aug. 21. She is majoring in international affairs with a minor in Spanish. Her goal is to enroll in law school and eventually work for the U.S. federal government. As a high school junior and senior, she was secretary of the Class of 2017 and recorded running event times and finishes for the track and field team coach and announcers. As a senior, she was secretary of the National Art Honor Society and a member of the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. Miss Hernandez was a three-year member of the National Spanish Honor Society (vice president as a junior; president as a senior) and a two-year member of the National English Honor Society as a sophomore and senior.

Her question as a Laurel Queen semi-finalist was which is better, year-round schooling with shorter breaks as is done in European countries or a shorter school year with a longer break in the summer as is done in America and why. Miss Hernandez said she favors year-round schooling because students going on to college would be better prepared for rigorous course work and their futures. She noted that year-round schooling may not work for students who have to work in the summertime to earn money to go to college.

"It was such a great feeling to be named third runner-up,” said Sarah Montrose, daughter of Deborah and Vincent Montrose of Columbia Cross Roads. She represented Athens Area High School as a Laurel Queen candidate. I was honestly surprised that the judges thought so highly of me and that I made that much of an impact. I wasn't shocked to learn Caroline was first runner-up and Miss Congeniality and Abbey was queen. Both of them deserved it," she said.

"I enjoyed everything, from walking around to see the different vendors to every little kid who asked me if I was a real princess and wanted to have their picture taken with me, to the queen candidates I met and connections I made…It's all so wonderful. When I was a little girl, I visited the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon but appreciated it much more now. Being in the Laurel Parade was a new experience for me. Every single person you drive by cheers for you," said Miss Montrose.

She has been invited by Lockheed Martin to shadow someone working with computers. There is also the possibility of a future internship with the company. "Within the last 24 hours, I have also been offered a part-time job as an interviewer at a new radio station that is opening in New York, near where I live," Miss Montrose said.

As a semi-finalist, Miss Montrose was asked what she was passionate about in terms of world culture and how she would use it. In response, she said in terms of world culture she was passionate about art and would use it in her community to paint children’s faces and do paintings for people.

Miss Montrose was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America all four years of high school; was a three-year member of the National Honor Society as a sophomore, junior and senior and of the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society as a junior and senior.

Aug. 14, will be her first day at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. She plans to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science and then work before earning her master's in computer science. "My dream job is still to be on an analytical team at a major company such as Google or Amazon," Miss Montrose said.

The 10 semi-finalists included the 2017 Laurel Queen and her court plus Miss Bucktail Emalea Jo Mills, Miss Central Mountain McCartney Register, Miss Millville Ariana Bish, Miss Montgomery Mackenzie Day, Miss South Williamsport Rebecca Nash, Miss St. John Neumann Sarah Harbach and Miss Troy Rebecca Case.

The weeklong Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival began Saturday, June 10 with Family Day and the Children's Health Fair ended Sunday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. with the outdoor Union Church Service.

For information about the 2018 festival scheduled for Saturday, June 9 through Sunday, June 16, contact the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce at 570-724-1926.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

How come Coudersport and Galeton didn't send any candidates to this? Endeavor had pictures of girls from Austin and Emporium. Lady at office said other schools didn't have a candidate? Why?