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Wellesley crowns ambassador

Kate Lindner, a 17-year-old student at Stratford Central Secondary School, is the 2009 Wellesley-North Easthope Fair ambassador.

She won the title Tuesday night as the fair opened at the Wellesley Arena after a tight race with two other hopefuls, Caecilia Straus, 17, and Justine Walker, 16.

Each of the contestants prepared a biographical exhibit on display in the arena, had an individual interview with a panel of judges and then gave a speech to the crowd on hand for the opening ceremonies before awaiting the decision, delivered by outgoing ambassador Sarah Van Allen.

As the newly crowned ambassador, Lindner spent the following day immersed in the fair, presenting ribbons, handing out prizes and greeting those in attendance. She’ll also be front and center at next weekend’s Apple Butter & Cheese Festival in Wellesley. Other events and promotional appearances will take place throughout the year, along with a visit to the Canadian National Exhibition as the Wellesley-North Easthope representative in that competition.

Lindner said she is happy to have been chosen to act as a booster for the Wellesley-North Easthope Agricultural Society and farming in general.

“I’ve lived on a farm my whole life, so I know about farm life. It’s definitely who I am.”

Already an avid volunteer, the new ambassadorial duties will be right up her alley, she said.

“I’m passionate about the things I volunteer for. I love to help other people, and it makes me feel good about myself.”

Lindner lives on a Perth County farm with her parents and three older brothers. She’s an avid dancer, having trained for a decade, competing for the past six years. She’s also active in theatrical circles as a member of TheatreCentral.

Straus, one of six children, also lives on a farm, in this case a hobby farm just outside of St. Agatha, where the family tends a large vegetable garden and raises rabbits and chickens.

An avid sports enthusiast, she played volleyball and basketball while attending St. Agatha Separate School. Now a Grade 12 student at Waterloo- Oxford District Secondary School, she is a member of the wrestling and rugby teams.

Since the age of 12, she’s been an Air Cadet as part of #80 KW Spitfire Squadron, working her way through the ranks. She plans to parlay that training into a career in policing. She has her eye on the police foundations course at Conestoga College, then the academy, ultimately hoping to serve as a police dog trainer with the canine unit.

Like Straus, fellow contestant Walker is actively involved in a variety of sports, including both rugby and wrestling. The New Hamburg native qualified for the provincial level in wrestling in each of the last two years, having excelled at the regionals.

She also played soccer, field hockey, football and basketball.

“Sports are my true passion, learning, playing and teaching sports is something I love.”

Although she doesn’t live on a farm – she lives in town with her parents and two sisters – she is interested in farm issues, particularly from the environmental perspective. She hopes to channel that interest into a career after completing her post-secondary education, still a few years away as she has just begun Grade 11 at WODSS. Teaching is on her radar.

“I like working with kids, and would like to give back by teaching kids.”

Having enjoyed this year’s experience, Walker said she is already thinking about next year’s competition, where the 2010 ambassador will accept the crown from Lindner.

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