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Laurel Festival – A Royal Occasion!

Meet a few of this year's Queen Candidates!


by Sara Vogt - June 16, 2017

Each June, as the garlands of mountain laurel bloom throughout our woodlands, Wellsboro celebrates with a variety of special events, not the least of which is the annual crowning of the Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen. The tradition of crowning a queen goes back to 1938 and continues to this day with 28 young women who represent their schools and communities in the event that honors the gifts and talents of each, and encourages them to impact the future.

Home Page correspondents Nicolle Mayo and Sara Vogt had the opportunity to meet four of the candidates for an exclusive inside look into their hopes, dreams, and future aspirations.

The first queen candidate Sara spoke with was Miss Wellsboro, Mackenzie Chilson, about her interest in animals and the importance of animals in the lives of children. She and her family have several pets. Mackenzie is responsible for the care of the horse. She plans to attend Mansfield University to pursue her dream of working in the field of medical laboratory sciences and would love to bring her education and talents back to Wellsboro. When asked about how she feels about living in a small community, Mackenzie comments that it makes her feel safe and secure.

Next, Sara spoke with Miss Montoursville, Caroline Hernandez, who was born in Mexico. When asked about her passion, she replies, “I have found a sense of being when I do community service. When I moved here it was such a big transition, and everybody was very receptive, so I just like to give back.”

Caroline plans to attend American University in Washington, DC to study international affairs with a minor in Spanish. As an extension of her desire to serve others, she will be enrolled in the ROTC program there. Eventually, Caroline would like to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in law.

Emily Kies, Miss Cowanesque Valley was the next candidate to be interviewed. Nicolle Mayo asks her about the history of her path to the Laurel Festival, and Emily explains that four generations of women from her family have been involved in the Laurel Festival including her great-great aunt, her grandmother and her mother all participated. When asked what she would like others to know about her, Emily replies that she is a very positive person and looks on the bright side of things. Since Emily was in third grade one of her life goals was to be her class’s valedictorian. She achieved that dream! Her valedictorian speech theme at graduation was writing the story of your life, not letting others hold the pen, only you.

Our fourth queen candidate to share about her life journey was Miss North Penn-Liberty, Michaela Schmouder. This fall she will be attending West Virginia University where she plans on majoring in Biology. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to continue at the same school in their medical studies to become a physician in Sports Medicine. When asked by Nicolle to describe her personality Michaela expressed her feelings by saying, I just try to be positive, I try to help others to be positive and keep everyone smiling.

A simple way of expressing their life goals: MacKenzie – home Is where the heart is; Caroline – follow your dreams; Emily – write your own life story; Michaela – ambition will take you places.

This weekend we hope all of the queen candidates enjoy their time at the Laurel Festival and treasure the wonderful memories made here for the rest of their lives.


Videography: Erin O'Shea, Tyler Burgett

Video Editing: Erin O'Shea

Writing: Heather Weiner

Anchor: Lauren Gooch

Correspondent: Sara Vogt, Dr Nicolle Mayo

Photography: Bernadette Chiaramonte


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Dunham’s Dept Store, Senior's Creations & The Main Street Olive Oil Co.

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