“You guys are amazing,” Heather Lowry said to the other queen candidates after she was crowned 2015 Junior Fair Queen of this year’s Champaign County Fair by 2014 Fair Queen Caty Shoemaker to a cheering crowd during a Sunday evening ceremony at the fairgrounds.
After thanking the Vernon family for their efforts toward organizing the fair queen contest, she said to the crowd, “I’ll represent you guys to the best of my ability.”
Following the ceremony, she said being selected fair queen is an honor.
“I can’t really believe it,” she said.
Mary Jenkins and Sydney Eggleston were named first and second runner-up, respectively.
The daughter of Jeff and Paula Lowry, Queen Heather graduated from Graham High School this year. During her senior year she took courses at Urbana University, allowing her to complete about a year of college.
This fall she heads to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, to major in special education.
“I want to come back to Champaign County and teach in a local school and raise a family here,” she said.
For the next year, however, Queen Heather will represent Champaign County at county fairs throughout the state.
“I want to show people what Champaign County is all about, and I want to show young 4-Hers what 4-H is all about and what it has meant to me,” she said.
Lowry’s fair queen application lists special interests as playing basketball, attending church, 4-H and 4-H projects, volunteering and helping at home. Leisure time finds her with friends and family, relaxing, playing basketball and being outdoors.
President of her 4-H club, she previously served as secretary and treasurer. She’s been involved in junior leadership/4-H Ambassadors, Junior Fairboard and 4-H camp counseling.
At Graham, she was community service officer and treasurer of Students Making a Difference, co-president of National Honor Society and co-captain of her basketball team. She received the coaches award and Central Buckeye Conference Sportsmanship award through basketball. She also is involved in her church youth group.
This year’s fair queen applicants were asked to submit essays on how the county fair has helped prepare them for the future.
Queen Heather previously wrote that participating in the county fair has taught her the benefit of hard work, of never giving up and of doing good deeds without recognition.
“Being involved in the Champaign County Fair has taught me many life lessons that I will carry with me forever,” she wrote. “Those life lessons have helped prepare me for the future. Some of the life lessons I have learned are: hard work pays off, keep trying and never give up, meeting new people can lead to much more, and do something even if you won’t get recognized.
“The life lessons I have learned have helped shape me into the person I am today and better prepared me for the future. I have learned that hard work will pay off any day over buying expensive products. Putting in that hard work is much more rewarding than just taking a project to the fair. Even if I do not win I know that what I have done is worth it in the end, and eventually all my hard work will pay off. Hard work can get people many places if they take the time to put in that work. Another lesson I have leaned from being involved in the Champaign County Fair is to never give up and keep trying. Even when I thought I did not have a chance, I kept trying and it paid off. One time when I was showing my dairy feeders I thought I was last and wanted to just stop showing. But I kept going and I ended up getting first. This shows that even when people think they are done and want to give up they need to keep going because it could pay off. A third lesson I have learned is that meeting new people can lead to much more than just a new friend. Through the Champaign County Fair I have been able to meet many different people. Those people have become great friends and have helped me through many difficult times. Also, some people I have met through 4-H have helped me gain confidence and have helped me grow as a person, making these people more than just friends. Lastly, I have learned to just do something even if I will not be recognized. Sometimes those good deeds I have done have helped me later even if it did not help me when I was doing the deed. Therefore, always do something because it can pay off later.
“As you can see the Champaign County Fair has taught me many lessons that have shaped me to the person I am today and will continue to help me in life. I will carry these lessons with me forever, and I am sure I will learn more this year at fair.”
Other awards presented at Sunday’s event included:
4-H Girl of the Year Emma Smith
4-H Boy of the Year Zack Moore
4-H Advisor of the Year Lorraine Townsley
FFA Girl of the Year Jenna Rittenhouse
FFA Boy of the Year Ryan Goddard
Mark Sommers Memorial Award Recipient Bridget Yutzy
Read more about these individuals in the Daily Citizen’s Tuesday edition.