Lovely Lassies Launch St. Pat’s
A powerful rendition of “I, Who Have Nothing” helped 18-year old April Gunderson of Ringsted earn the title of Miss Shamrock 2008 Sunday evening to kick off the 2008 St. Patrick’s Celebration. Gunderson, the daughter of Jay and Roslyn Gunderson, was one of six incredibly talented young women competing in the program, held at Corrigan Hall in Emmetsburg. Jerri Sadler, the retiring Miss Shamrock 2007, crowned her successor to conclude a day and evening filled with lovely lassies of all ages competing on the Corrigan Hall stage.
Kylie Carter, an 18-year old senior at Emmetsburg High School, was named the First Runner-up by the panel of three judges. The daughter of Andrew and Holly Carter, Kylie presented a vocal selection, “Free and Easy, Down the Road I Go” during the talent portion of the program.
Earning the Second Runner-up honors on Sunday was Kylie Woodley, a 17-year old senior at Laurens-Marathon Community School. Woodley, the daughter of Rick and Kerrie Woodley, performed a fast-paced pom dance routine to “One Night Only” from the musical “Dreamgirls” as her talent selection.
Gunderson is no stranger to Emmetsburg’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, as she held the title of Irish Miss in 2006. However, she was excited and happy following her coronation.
“This is a great honor. It took a lot of work, but it’s a great honor,” Gunderson said.
A senior at Armstrong-Ringsted, April is active in volleyball, softball, track, band and choir. She is captain of the Drill team, serves as Editor of the Mustang Yearbook and is the vice president of the AR Student Council. In the community, April is involved in the Big Buddy program, and serves as a member of the Emmet County Kinship Board of Directors as well as being a member of her church choir. She was the winner of the VFW Voice of Democracy contest and will be receive Silver Cord honors at graduation for Community Service. Her hobbies include singing, shopping, quilting, scrap booking, photography, reading, and hanging out with friends.
April’s future plans are to attend North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City and to be involved in choir and softball.
It was Gunderson’s answer to her onstage question that provided an insight into the new Miss Shamrock. When asked by Master of Ceremonies John Schad what program or activity had the greatest impact on her life, Gunderson responded, “I would have to say the Big Brother-Big Sister. I love being a mentor for a little girl who needs it. I love spending time with her every week, and I love giving her the attention she needs. Thank you.”
First Runner-up Kylie Carter is active in varsity show choir, cheerleading, and concert choir and is the secretary of the senior class. She was named Student of the Month in May 2007 and is listed as an Outstanding Student of America, as wells as being a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. She is involved in the community as an E’Hawk Buddy, a peer tutor, and in the Education Talent Search program. Kylie is also a member of Just Eliminate Lies, Lighten Up Iowa, church youth group and also does fundraising for muscular dystrophy through the Taylor Fund.
Kylie’s future plans are to attend Iowa State University in Ames to double major in fitness management and athletic coaching with a minor in Spanish.
Second Runner-Up Kylie is involved in volleyball, basketball, golf, softball and drill team and also serves as the senior class president and Y-Teens president. She is a member of the physics club and is the yearbook business manager. She is an honor roll student and serves as the vice president of the National Honor Society at Laurens-Marathon. She is also active in the community as a volunteer for the Rally for the Cure golf tournament. She is in CCD and volunteers frequently in her church.
She has attended and will be a counselor for the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership camp and is the recipient of the Kiwanis Good Citizenship Award. She also volunteers as a coach and official for youth volleyball and is an elementary tutor.
Kylie plans to attend Buena Vista University in Storm Lake and major in exercise science/pre-chiropractic and participate on the golf team.
Prior to the final coronation ceremonies, a special award was presented to the one contestant selected by her fellow contestants as the friendliest and most supportive throughout the program. Miss Congeniality honors were presented to Lynn Geelan, the 18-year old daughter of Pat and Kristi Geelan of Ruthven. A senior at Ruthven-Ayrshire Community High School, Geelan sang the classic Irish ballad, “Danny Boy” in the talent competition.
The Congenialty Award is presented annually as a special gift in memory of the late Dick Higgins, the Grand Marshal of the 2001 St. Pat’s Celebration, by the Higgins Family. Jarrod Joynt, a grandson, presented the award during the program.
Also competing in Sunday’s program was Chelsea Zaragosa, the 17-year old daughter of Ned and Molly Zaragosa of Ruthven. A senior at Ruthven-Ayrshire High School, Chelsea sang “In My Own Little Corner” from “Cinderella” in the talent portion of the competition.
Rounding out the field of contestants was 17-year old Tracy Fay, the daughter of Kris and Jerry Fay of Wallingford A senior at Estherville Lincoln Central High School. Tracy performed a lyrical dance to “And We’re Dancing” in the talent competition.
The reigning Miss Iowa, Diana Reed of Norwalk, wowed the audience at Corrigan Hall with her baton twirling routine in her appearance on Sunday. Reed, who was one of the 10 finalists in the recently concluded Miss America pageant, talked about her experience at Miss America, as well as her Miss Iowa experiences and her community service platforms of Character Education, Building Futures by Building Kids, as well Character Counts and the Children’s Miracle Network.
In her final official performance, the retiring Miss Shamrock, Jerri Sadler, performed a flute solo, “The Swiss Herdsman”, prior to making her final walk down the runway, to prolonged applause and cheers from the crowd.
The assistance of three gentlemen from Emmetsburg High School as escorts for the contestants while on stage continued another Miss Shamrock Pageant tradition. Jack Geelan, Michael Flint and Ryan Wuebker assisted the contestants during the eveningwear competition, and presented each of the young women with white roses.
Special guests on stage during the Miss Shamrock pageant were the other members of the St. Pat’s Celebration Royalty, who were crowned in ceremonies earlier Sunday afternoon. The new Little Irish Miss, Anna Brennan of Emmetsburg, the new Little Lassie, Natalie Ruiz of Emmetsburg and the newly crowned Junior Miss, Paige Naig, also of Emmetsburg, were all honored on stage along with several visiting queens: Chloe Garman, Li’l Miss Kossuth-Winnebago; Jade Alesch, Miss Graettinger; Amy Norland, Palo Alto County Fair Queen; Amanda Kropf, Emmet County Fair Queen; Amanda Post, Junior Miss Kossuth-Winnebago and Carrie Wubben, Miss Kossuth-Winnebago.
The difficult assignment of selecting a title holder out of the field of very talented young women fell to a panel of three judges: Sherry Vogel of Stanton; Ken Lang of Emmetsburg and Colleen Flannery Adams of West Des Moines. In an interesting sidelight, Lang was one of the founders of the Miss Shamrock Pageant, while Flannery-Adams was crowned Miss Shamrock of 1980.
The revitalized Irish Dancers also performed in Sunday’s program. The Celtic Cuties, dancers in Kindergarten through Third Grade, included Anna Brennan, Nicolett Boblit, Lindsey Carter, Molly Schany, Isabella King, Marissa King, Alison Laubenthal, Alexis Louwagie, Molly McCain, Jordan Miller, Betty Sue Strohman, Jessica Taylor, Jasmine Boblit, Rachel Geelan, Hannah Malm, Alison Merrill, Hannah Van Huevelen, Mary Nelson, Kayla Joyce, Sydney Travis and Ashley Keller.
Dancers in the Fourth through Seventh grades include Shea Ehlert, Katie Hoffman, Alexis King, Laura Moser, Erin Poeppe, Kiersten Aldous, Olivia Smith, Hannah Bird, BriAna Campbell, Kendal Deitering, Brittany Poeppe, Jenna Wolfe, Shelby Brindley, Jacque Carlson, Whitney Kibbie, Erin Reedy, Amy Schultes and Miranda Vlasman.
The new titleholders will have a busy week ahead of them, as they will travel to Des Moines with the Irish Dignitary, David Stanton, TD, and his wife Mary. They will also visit the Iowa Statehouse, as well as appearances at various celebration events, including the St. Pat’s Parade this coming Saturday.