‘Queen of Hearts’ pageant is set for Saturday afternoon at the high school

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The Switzerland County FFA chapter will host its annual “Queen of Hearts” pageant this Saturday afternoon in the cafeteria at the high school. The program will begin at 3 p.m., and there is a $3 admission fee.

The “Queen of Hearts” pageant is unique because it also serves as a community service directive for the chapter and its members. Each of the pageant’s contestants selects a platform that they feel strongly about, and the FFA chapter then adopts the platform of the winning contestant as a public service project for the coming year.

Last year’s “Queen of Hearts” was Emilee Waldron, whose platform was recycling and helping the Switzerland County Recycling Center. Along with work that the chapter has done since last year’s pageant, the admission proceeds on Saturday will also go to the recycling center.

The candidates are judged on a personal interview; sportswear, their individual platform, evening gown, and their response to a question while they are on stage.

This year there are nine contestants vying for the “Queen of Hearts” title:

– CHELSEA DUVALL: Chelsea Duvall is the daughter of Shonda and Tony Rose and Tim and Toni Young. She is being sponsored in the pageant by Louis Dreyfus Commodities/Jeremy Armstrong consultant.

Her platform for the pageant is the Switzerland County Animal Shelter and Humane Society.

Chelsea Duvall is involved in FFA, the Key Club, student council, and softball. She has earned multiple Grand Champion honors in 4-H, and has also earned honors for showing cattle.

Following graduation she plans on attending Purdue University and majoring in animal science and then attend Purdue’s Veterinary School to become a large and small animal veterinarian.

– LAURA FINDLEY: Laura Findley is the daughter of Anne and Robert Findley; and is being sponsored in the pageant by Crawford Electric.

Her platform is the idea of having a “Preventive Dental Day”, where the FFA chapter would help organize its members to teach proper oral hygiene habits to others.

Laura Findley is a member of the varsity soccer team; the varsity cheerleading squad; the Junior Historical Society; and the Spanish Club. She is also a member of the National Honor Society; and assists with canned food drives and the “Operation Christmas Child” program.

Following graduation she plans on attending Indiana University; and would like to earn her master’s degree in psychology.

– AUDREY FURNISH: Audrey Furnish is the daughter of Kathleen and Chris Bolton; and is being sponsored in the pageant by Countrytown Builders.

Her platform is to get students to volunteer at the Switzerland County Animal Shelter at least once a month and for the FFA to help purchase necessities needed for the animals.

Audrey Furnish is a member of the FFA; the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and the French Club; and helps with the YMCA preschool program. She volunteers at the Swiss Wine Festival; and helped serve food at the Jeff-Craig firehouse during the windstorms last September.

Following graduation she plans on attending Xavier University as a pre-med student; and eventually plans a career as a neonatologist.

– JULIE FURNISH: Julie Furnish is the daughter of Rob and Cheryl Furnish. She is being sponsored in the pageant by Darrin Bowling.

Her platform is the American Heart Association.

Julie Furnish is a member of FFA, where she serves as chapter advisor; and is also a member of the cheerleading squad; the softball team; and the Pep Club. She is an eight-year member of 4-H, where she is a member of the Junior Leaders; and also volunteers a the animal shelter and is involved in the FFA’s “Homeless Project”. She is also a member of the National Junior Honor Society.

After graduation she plans on attending Purdue University to pursue a career as an ophthalmologist or a pharmacist.

– RACHEL GURLEY: Rachel Gurley is the daughter of James Gurley and Jennifer Miller. She is being sponsored in this year’s pageant by the Schenck Mansion.

Her platform for the pageant is the Quercus Grove Food Pantry.

Rachel Gurley is the President of the FFA chapter; is Co-President of the Student Council; and is Vice President of the senior class. She is a member of the Pep Club; and the National Honor Society. She is a member of the Spring Branch Baptist Church, and she volunteers at the local food pantry. She was the 2006 Edelweiss Princess; and send runner up in the 2008 Miss Switzerland County pageant.

After graduation she plans on attending Butler University to major in psychology and minor in political science.

– KELLY JO KINCAID: Kelly Kincaid is the daughter of Gina Kincaid and Scotty Kincaid; and is being sponsored in the pageant by Swiss Caps.

Her platform for the pageant is the Switzerland County “Relay for Life”.

Kelly Kincaid is a member of the junior varsity and varsity basketball teams; the track team; SADD; and the Pep Club. She is a member of the Olive Branch Baptist Church Youth Group and Switzerland County Area Youth; and volunteers her time at the Quercus Grove Food Pantry. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society; and has earned inclusion on the Honor Roll.

Following graduation she plans on playing college basketball, and would like to pursue a career in the field of plastic surgery.

– ALLEISHA PALASTRO: Alleisha Palastro is the daughter of Tina and Gary Reynolds; and is being sponsored in the pageant by Twisted Ends.

Her platform for the pageant is the Special Olympics.

Alleisha Palastro is a member of the cheerleading squad; the FFA chapter; the Pep Club; and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also involved in the Business Professionals of America organization; and participates in the Switzerland County 4-H program.

Following graduation, she plans on pursuing a career as a pediatric nurse, but is undecided on a college at this time.

– JESSIE RAY: Jessie Ray is the daughter of Billie and Shane Jackson and Troy Ray; and is being sponsored in the pageant by the Julia Knox House Gift Shop.

Her platform for the pageant is the promotion of the performing arts in Switzerland County.

Jessie Ray is a member of the student council; FFA, Business Professionals of America; and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is a member of the volleyball team, the varsity cheerleading squad, and the Pep Club. She is the President of the sophomore class; and is involved in SADD. She volunteers her time with the Special Olympics and the FFA’s “Homeless Project”; and also participates in performances at the Hoosier Theater. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society; and as the first runner up in the Edelweiss Teen Princess pageant in 2008.

Following graduation she plans on moving to Chicago to further her education in art or communications.

– SHAYLA SMITH: Shayla Smith is the daughter of Betty and Steve Gifford and Troy Smith; and is being sponsored in the pageant by Gifford Farms.

Her platform for the pageant is the Special Olympics.

Shayla Smith is a member of the FFA; the Business Professionals of America; student council; and the Pep Club. She volunteers her time at the Swiss Villa Living Center and for the Salvation Army; and is a teaching assistant at the community computer workshop. She recently earned first place honors in word processing at the district competition for the Business Professionals of America.

Following graduation she plans on attending The Ohio State University and major in business administration.