Nine young women apply for Miss Exeter

One of the highlights of Fall Festival is being introduced to the engaging and enthusiastic young women of Exeter. Miss Exeter, formerly Fall Festival Queen, has been a long-time tradition throughout the 91 years of Fall Festival and continues that tradition in its 92nd year.

Nine young women in their senior year at Exeter Union High School have applied for the Exeter Chamber of Commerce's Miss Exeter personal development and scholarship program. Miss Exeter will receive a $500 scholarship from the chamber. All candidates, including Miss Exeter, will receive a savings bond and other gifts from local merchants and a lifetime of memories.

Miss Exeter and her court will attend and help promote Fall Festival during the week-long festivities from Oct. 3-8. In addition to Fall Festival, Miss Exeter and her court will also attend the chamber's Man & Woman of the Year Banquet in February. All candidates must be Exeter Union High School students or Exeter residents in their junior or senior years.

Each candidate is sponsored by a local organization or business. The young women will gather information, such as history, about their sponsoring business or organization and write a 250-word essay on their findings. Each candidate will also give a five to 10-minute speech on the essay information to the sponsor. Each candidate will sell raffle tickets for the chamber.

Sponsoring organizations will provide information regarding its business to the candidate and confirm with the chamber that the verbal presentation has been given. Sponsors must also purchase eight dinner tickets. Sponsors will provide an escort at the Miss Exeter Coronation Dinner beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3. The dinner marks the beginning of Fall Festival week where candidates are judged on their community and school service, academics, poise and personality and the sale of raffle tickets as a fund-raiser. During this evening, the candidates answer impromptu questions and model in a fun fashion show. For more information call the Exeter Chamber of Commerce at 592-2919.

Sara Agahi

Sara, 17, is the daughter of Ali and Valerie Agahi. She has a 3.85 grade point average (GPA) and has been involved with Key Club, Associated Student Body (ASB), California Scholastic Federation (CSF) and the Academic Decathlon. Sara said she applied for Miss Exeter to be even more involved in the community. "I like to be involved in the community and I hope I can become friends with all the girls and get to know them better."

Sara has been a member of Key Club, a youth leadership program through Kiwanis, for four years and served as sergeant at arms for the first two years, then president and treasurer this year. Sara is sponsored by the Exeter Kiwanis Club. Her talents include public speaking, organization and leadership. Sara said she wanted to represent Exeter because of its friendly atmosphere. "There is a real sense of community here." Sara said she plans on following in her parents' footsteps by attending University of California, San Francisco, and becoming a dentist. She said after getting her degree, she plans on moving back to Exeter and someday taking over Exeter Family Dentistry.

Chelsea Boland

Chelsea, 16, is the daughter of Tony and Kelly Boland. She has a 3.5 GPA and is involved at the Exeter Church of God and plays on the EUHS softball and is the watergirl for varsity football.

Chelsea said she applied for Miss Exeter because she saw the fun that her cousin, Dawn Boland, had when she was crowned Fall Festival Queen in 1990. "This celebration is what Exeter is about. Making new friends and getting together."

Chelsea enjoys spending time with her family and fishing, so it is no surprise that she is sponsored by the Exeter Sportsmen's Association. Chelsea said she wanted to represent Exeter. "You grow up here and people you meet here are friends forever."

Chelsea said she plans on attending College of the Sequoias and Estes Beauty College to open her own beauty shop in Exeter. "I love working with people and meeting new people," she said.

Abigail Cochran

Abigail, 17, is the daughter of Mickey and Charlene Cochran. She has a 4.0 GPA and has been involved with Mock Trial, Science Olympiad, CSF, Bible Club, was ASB President and a Student Site Council Member. Abigail ran three years of cross country and was active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

She applied for Miss Exeter because she wanted to become more involved in the community. "People in Exeter do so much for the community and I want to be a part of that too," she said.

Sponsored by the Exeter Lions Club, Abigail grew up learning about and helping with Lions activities because of her father's long-time involvement with the club. She said what she likes most about Exeter is its trademark oranges. "Training for cross country we run by the orchards and you could smell the oranges, my favorite fruit. The entire city is surrounded by oranges, and with the murals downtown, it all ads a great color that separates Exeter from other communities."

In her free time, Chelsea enjoys running, kickboxing, designing, photography and traveling. She plans on attending Anderson University and majoring in psychiatry and foreign languages. After graduation, she wants to do missionary work. "I want to learn other languages and travel the world to see other cultures."

Leilani Harke

Leilani, 17, is the daughter of John and Meleana Harke. She has a 3.6 GPA, was junior class president for and is ASB secretary as a senior. Leilani, who grew up in Maui, Hawaii, said she applied for Miss Exeter because everyone made her feel welcome when her family moved here two years ago. Her father is an Exeter native.

"It is small and different here from other cities. People here have been cool." Leilani should enjoy the fashion show during the coronation dinner, as she aspires to be a fashion designer after obtaining a double major in fashion and creative writing at George Fox University in Oregon. "It would be exciting to design my own clothes."

She also enjoys dancing, running and getting together with her family. She has been involved with youth activities at U-Turn and has helped lead other teens and children on a path toward Christ. She said Exeter is a nice, small city and she hopes to learn more about the community. She is being sponsored by the Exeter Health and Wellness Foundation.

Beth Hovis

Beth, 17, is the daughter of Marshall and Renee Hovis. She has a 3.25 GPA and has been involved with YoungLife, senior class activities and plays on EUHS's girls soccer team. She applied for Miss Exeter because it was a good way to represent her city. "I want to be involved in the community to help as much as I can to promote Exeter."

Beth is being sponsored by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary. Beth has been singing in the madrigal and concert choir at EUHS and enjoys theatre and performing. She plans on attending Sonoma State University to pursue a career in performing arts or photography.

"I enjoy singing and performing in front of people."

Beth is involved in YoungLife and the youth group at the Exeter Church of God. She said she wants to give back as much as she can because everyone in Exeter gives so much.

"In Exeter you can always count on others to help when you need it. That is Exeter's small town charm, helping people."

Julie Landers

Julie, 17, is the daughter of Paula and Herman Landers. She has a 3.75 GPA, is cheer captain on the varsity cheerleading squad, is on the swim team and is involved with FCA and CSF. She applied for Miss Exeter for a new experience.

"I know this experience will make memories that will last a lifetime," she said.

Julie enjoys swimming, cheering, dancing, reading, scrapbooking and cooking. She attends the Exeter Church of God and is also a lifeguard for the City of Exeter. She said she enjoys Exeter's sense of community pride.

"The community loves to get together for events and come together for each other," she said.

Julie has been senior class president and a delegate at Pepperdine's Youth Leadership Seminar. A lady and a leader, the Exeter Woman's Club was a perfect fit as Julie's sponsor. She plans on attending a four-year university to earn her master's degree in international business.

"I want to be an international banker. That way I can afford to live in other countries and learn from other cultures."

Tiffany Marinos

Tiffany, 17, is the daughter of Manuel and Cynthia Marinos. She has a 3.4 GPA and is involved in ASB as the athletic representative, FCA and fund-raising for athletic teams. She plays on both the varsity volleyball and basketball teams and is a four-year member of the Junior Olympic Volleyball Team and hopes to be on the EUHS Wall of Fame when her high school career is over. Tiffany plans on earning an athletic scholarship to attend a four-year university, hopefully St. Mary's or Fresno Pacific. After getting a teaching credential, she would like to return to sports as a high school or college coach.

"Sports is something I have always loved," she said. She also enjoys hiking, river rafting, working with animals, reading and writing poetry. Her dreams also include traveling to Greece and eventually starting a family, preferably somewhere like Exeter, if not here. "I like that the community is one big family. Your parents help your friends and their parents help you. Everyone works together."

Sponsored by Larry Lee Photography, Tiffany said she applied for Miss Exeter because of the tradition. "There is so much heritage and history here. And this is a part of it. It is something I will always look back on."

Kelsey Tashjian

Kelsey, 17, is the daughter of Jeff Tashjian and Deanne Hall. She has a 4.0 GPA and plays in the marching band, symphonic band and the winter percussion ensemble where she plays the flute and piccolo.

Kelsey's decision to apply for Miss Exeter was a family affair. She is being sponsored by Tashjian Realty and got involved for her grandmother, Louise Martin. "We are really close and she thought this was something I should get involved in," she said. "I have lived here my whole life and it should be a great opportunity to meet people."

Kelsey attends the Exeter Church of God and enjoys community activities. She said she is proud to live in Exeter because it is a beautiful place. "Tourists come from all over to see Exeter and our oranges."

Kelsey plans on attending a four-year university "somewhere near the beach," where she will study to earn her teaching credential. "I really enjoy reading and writing. I would like to teach English and literature. I think teachers really affect people's lives for the better."

Carly Ybarra

Carly, 17, is the daughter of George Ybarra and Robyn Stearns. She has a 3.25 GPA, plays varsity volleyball and track and field. She said she applied for Miss Exeter because she wanted to be more involved.

"This is a great opportunity to be involved in something different for me," she said.

Carly said she wanted to represent Exeter because it is a safe place for people, somewhere children can play and people can get together without fear.

"Exeter is a place where people sit on their porch and wave to you when you walk by," she said. "You always have a friend nearby so you don't have to be scared walking around town."

A lifeguard, member of the Exeter Church of God and helper at Exeter's sports camp over the summer, Carly is comfortable giving directions and giving youth a direction as a positive role model. She plans on attending San Diego State University and earning a degree in counseling.

"I want to come back to this area and help children know that whatever they are going through it is something that they can get through."

If she stays in the area, Carly will surely make a difference in guiding the youth of Exeter and will probably again grace the pages of her sponsor, The Foothills Sun-Gazette.

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