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Wellesley fair season starts with selecting a new ambassador

Four local girls are candidates for the title of ambassador at the 2017 Wellesley Township Fall Fair. A winner will be chosen on September 12, the opening day of the fair.
Four local girls are candidates for the title of ambassador at the 2017 Wellesley Township Fall Fair. A winner will be chosen on September 12, the opening day of the fair. [Ali Wilson / The Observer]

It is that time again to present the contestants for the Wellesley Township Fall Fair ambassador program.

Contestants are required to live in or attend school in the Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich or Perth East Townships and be between the ages of 17 and 23. Before the competition, individuals present a two- or three-minute prepared speech and complete a display board. On the day of the fair, both will be presented and  contestants are required to complete an interview with community judges.

The incumbent, Miranda Schultz, will be passing on her tiara to one of the four young women at the fall fair on September 12.

Katie Kneisel

This being Katie’s second time running for fall fair ambassador, the veteran contestant is excited to have the opportunity to be more involved. 

“I personally cannot wait to meet and work with new and amazing people, to learn new skills as well as build on my previous experiences as a public speaker,” she said. “I hope that this opportunity will also allow me to become even more involved in and to give back to the Wellesley community through the events connected with the fall fair ambassador competition.”

The 19-year-old New Hamburg resident is graduating as an honor roll student from Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School. She is off to Wilfrid Laurier University to start her bachelor of kinesiology degree in September, hoping to one day be a secondary school teacher in physical education, English or art.

An active member of her high school community, Katie was awarded the bronze medal for contributing more than 400 hours to her school community, she also danced, played sports and was involved in the student activities council.

Outside of school, she is an employee of the Township of Wellesley, is a dance teacher and works part-time at Marble Slab.

In her spare time, Katie is heavily involved in her church community, volunteers with the Wellesley Optimist Club events and dances at Centre Stage Dance Studio.

Mary Ellen McCormick

One of eight children, Mary Ellen grew up on a farm where she spent most of her free time. Each year, she enjoys the fall fair. When nominated, she welcomed the challenge as a chance to represent the fair she loves. 

“When I got asked if I wanted to run for the Wellesley fall fair ambassador, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get out and learn new things. Ever since I was a child I’ve been extremely shy and still haven’t been able to get to the point where I feel comfortable meeting new people, let alone public speaking,” she explained. “I look forward to the challenge it will bring me, and I hope to overcome my difficulties and feel more confident.”

The 18-year-old student at Waterloo-Oxford is a wiz at welding, having excelled greatly at it in high school, creating unique garden art. She continues on doing welding jobs at home on the farm. You can also find Mary Ellen baking, decorating cakes and spending lots of time enjoying the outdoors. Each summer she says she looks forward to planting a garden with new and different varieties of vegetables to display at the fall fair.

Not only did she achieve a place on the honour roll throughout high school, she also started her own business where she breeds and raises meat goats, a venture that has grown substantially since its start last year. In her free time she volunteers at her church, works at the Ontario Livestock Exchange and helps with her  family’s Fall Harvest Farm.

Since she enjoys working with animals she wants to continue to raise and expand her goat business while also helping to raise other animals.

Mary Ellen is planning to go to college, though she hasn’t decided if she wants to proceed in agriculture or the health field.

Maddi Da Rosa

Maddi says she accepted the nomination because the opportunity to be fair ambassador provides many unique opportunities that are difficult to find elsewhere. 

“I would  love to become more knowledgeable about my community and be known as someone who cares about setting a good example and putting their best foot forward in everything they do,” she said.

Outside of her school, Waterloo-Oxford, she currently works at both the Wellesley Arena and New Orleans Pizza in New Hamburg.

Very involved in the arts, the 17-year-old is a competitive dancer, and has been featured in both a Theatre Wellesley performance and a Kitchener Waterloo Musical Production.

A recipient of the Wellesley’s Junior Citizen of the Year, Maddi does extensive volunteer work both around her school and in her community.

As someone who is fascinated by the world’s happenings around her, she hopes to pursue a career in social sciences. Lately she has been intrigued by Brock University’s course on pop culture, but ultimately she wants to be able to perform, travel and write about her experiences.

Janessa Pretorius

Having received a Junior Ambassador medal for three years, Janessa felt the natural next step was to run for the Wellesley fair ambassador. 

“I have a true passion for the Wellesley fall fair, my community and for volunteering. The fair ambassador brings these three qualities together. Having the honour of representing our local area and meeting new people at the same time, as it allows the opportunity to learn more about the agricultural side,” she said.

Janessa has a lengthy list of accomplishments, awards and volunteer service, including raising money for the Wellesley accessibility park and KW Humane Society. She was honoured earlier this year by receiving the RBC ‘Make 150 Count’ award, and has volunteered with WYAC (Wellesley Youth Advisory Council) for four years, at the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival and the Wellesley Fall Fair for three years, Wellesley Idol for two years, the wedding dress show this past spring, the Wellesley Soap Box Derby, the Wellesley Home Show, the Wellesley Horticulture Society, vacation bible school and the Groundwater Festival at the Museum.

A Grade 12 student at WODSS, she is involved in their concert choir, Students Without Borders and their badminton team, all while maintaining a 90 average. She is currently working as a student page at the Waterloo Regional Library headquarters.

Janessa is working towards being accepted into the global business and digital arts program at the University of Waterloo for September 2018. She says in the future she hopes to continue to travel, but is always happy to return home to Wellesley where she wants to remain involved in committees around the township – such as the horticulture society and the Wellesley Mennonite Church.

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