BROOKVILLE – The speeches were nearly flawless. The teens were poised and beautiful in their dresses, and the judges had a difficult decision naming the winner.
In the end, Emma Stern was crowned Franklin County Fair 4-H Fair Queen June 29.
In her opening presentation to the crowd that gathered in the Franklin County High School auditorium, Brookville, the daughter of Gary and Susan Stern, Cedar Grove, pointed out, “Success is not achieved overnight .... from success, we learn many life lessons.”
She told a story that explained how “you should never be ashamed of who you really are .... Once upon a time, there was a girl riding a horse to the fair. She had only been riding that horse for a little over a month and never dealt with anything like that horse before.
“She only had riding pants, boots, a tank top and riding helmet on.” Arriving at her destination, “one of the (pageant) leaders asked if I had any clothes to change into because the newspaper lady was there to take a photo.
“I didn’t want anyone to see me, but then I saw it in (The Herald-Tribune) paper .... (and realized) the community saw me for who I really was.
“I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. I’m surrounded by people who love me for who I am.”
After being selected for the top honor, the 18-year-old said she felt “fantastic and surprised.”
The 2014 FCHS graduate revealed the most challenging aspect of the competition: “The nerves, the anxiety.” She was also happy about “getting that speech done.”
First runner-up was Megan Hensley, 17, Metamora. The FCHS senior reported that her grandmother is her mentor because she taught her to paint. “The moments I spend with her are something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.”