Kelsey Tashjian is Miss Exeter

With a reserved smile and a timid stance, Kelsey Tashjian emerged as Miss Exeter for the 2005 Fall Festival this week, Oct. 5-8, when she was crowned by last year's Miss Exeter, Samantha Sario.

Kelsey, 17, seemed to be one of the most nervous candidates prior to coming out during the procession, but calmed down during the impromptu questions when the senior was asked what wisdom she would share with freshmen.

"You may think it is four years of messing around and going to parties but you really have to focus and look at things on a deeper level."

Wise words from the straight A student who plays flute and piccolo in the marching band, symphonic band and the winter percussion ensemble. Kelsey's decision to apply for Miss Exeter was a family affair. She was being sponsored by Tashjian Realty and was escorted by her father, Jeff Tashjian.

It was surely a close race as all the girls exhibited a lot of poise, community pride and personality. First runner up was Abigail Cochran, sponsored by the Exeter Lions Club. The other candidates and their sponsors are: Sara Agahi, Exeter Kiwanis Club; Chelsea Boland, Exeter Sportsmen's Association; Leilani Harke, Exeter Health & Wellness Foundation; Beth Hovis, Fraternal Order of the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary; Julie Landers, Woman's Club; Tiffany Marinos, Larry Lee Photography; and Carly Ybarra, The Foothills Sun-Gazette.

As Miss Exeter, Kelsey will receive a $500 scholarship from the chamber. All candidates, including Miss Exeter, will receive a savings bond from Bank of the Sierra, free checking from Bank of America and other gifts from local merchants.

The girls were judged by Councilmen Leon Ooley, Police Chief Cliff Bush and Pamela Whitmire, better known as "PK the Redhead" on K-TIP AM 1450's Hopper in the Morning show and a former Exeter queen of the Red Carpet Festival (prior to the Fall Festival) in 1974.

Kelsey said she is looking forward to judging the pumpkin carving and lip sync contests tonight and Friday. The next opportunity to meet

Miss Exeter and her court will be at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce's October mixer held each year during Fall Festival week hosted by Bank of the Sierra. The mixer will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6. The girls will also be at the festival's culmination on Saturday, Oct. 8 for a full day of festivities, activities and fun. (See schedule of events on this page.) But what Kelsey has enjoyed most about applying for Miss Exeter, is the opportunity to become closer with the other girls.

"We had so much fun shopping and picking out clothes and dresses for each other," Kelsey said. "This has been great experience and I will always look back and remember this."

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."

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