Superheroes were the spotlight of Katie Kneisel’s winning speech as she accepted the ambassador’s crown Tuesday night at the Wellesley-North Easthope Fall Fair.
Although she said her favourite superhero was Spider-Man, it wasn’t a comic-book hero who was Kneisel’s role model, nor someone in tights and a cape that helped her to become the person she is today. No, her heroes are her parents.
It was her mother and father who brought her to the fair every year, who supported her through countless dance recitals and hockey games, providing her with a foundation she is thankful to have, one she can build on with her future endeavors, she explained
“I want you to take a second and think about who your favourite superhero is,” she began. “I think of two people who are the most supportive, loving and hard working – my Mom and Dad are my heroes.
“Mom and Dad, you inspire me to be the woman I am, you inspire me to be a good Mom, you inspire me to be a hardworking teacher and you inspire me to be loved by many. Thank you so much.”
And the judges, Gary West, Elizabeth Johnston and Eileen Hartig felt that those superheroes raised her to be the woman to represent the community over the next year.
Although the deliberations were extended, the judges ultimately chose her over Mary Ellen McCormick, Maddi Da Rosa and Janessa Pretorius to be the 2017-2018 Wellesley-North Hope Fall Fair ambassador.
“On behalf of Gary and Arlene and myself, I would like to congratulate all four ambassadors up here as a community – you should be extremely proud of the talent that these young people have and what they bring to your community. Each one of them would make a fantastic ambassador for your community, and it was a tough decision tonight that we could only pick one,” said Johnston. “Congratulations to each one of you. All four of you did a fantastic job tonight; you definitely made our job very difficult.”
The current Wilfrid Laurier University student will attend various events throughout the year, sit on the fair board and represent the community at the CNE competition next summer.
Studying in her bachelor of kinesiology degree in September, Kneisel is heavily involved in her church community, is a veteran community volunteer and a dancer. She hopes to one day be a secondary school teacher in physical education, English or art.
Handing over her crown after a year reign, 2016/2017 ambassador Miranda Schultz had some parting words about her experience, and some advice for Kneisel,
Shultz describe her year as a one of firsts.
“It is hard to imagine myself a year ago doing a goodbye speech,” she said. “My year of firsts encompasses a lot of learning and growth. I had to learn from the very beginning that I was enough to be the ambassador and then I had to walk in that knowledge with my head held high. I want to offer my learnings to the incredible contestants this year. Ladies, you are all different, you all have strengths in different areas and different passions. Whether you win or not, please know that you are all enough to be the Wellesley Fair ambassador. You already are ambassadors, as you represent this township so well.”
She did a special thank-you to all of those who have made her year so exceptional, including to organizers Joanne and Wendy Richardson.
“You have been like my adoptive fair moms.”
Before announcing her successor, Schultz spoke to the character of the contestants she had seen Tuesday evening.
“Wellesley is so fortunate to have all of you.”
And before exiting the stage, Kneisel in true spirit, asked the audience for a round of applause for the organizers, her fellow competitors, judges and of course her superheroes.
“I hope to share an important lesson from my experience,” she started. “I had never done anything that pushed me so far out of my comfort zone before, public speaking, standing in front of a people were things that I avoided out of fear, and this was a big step to putting that aside.”