New Buffalo’s Kyra Heit begins bud queen reignPublished 8:59am Tuesday, March 16, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Niles Daily Star
BENTON HARBOR – The People’s Choice agreed with the judges’ choice and Miss New Buffalo Kyra Heit was crowned 78th Miss Blossomtime Monday night at Lake Michigan College Mendel Center.
This is the 104th year for Michigan’s oldest and largest festival.
Kyra becomes New Buffalo’s first queen since former Dowagiac resident Nina Marie Ritter was the 50th Miss Blossomtime in 1982.
As her community’s fourth Miss Blossomtime, New Buffalo ties Buchanan, South Haven and Stevensville.
The others were Barbara Schoch in 1954 and Sunny Aasgard in 1967.
Only Benton Harbor and Three Oaks with five, Berrien Springs with six and St. Joseph, which won its eighth title last year with Jessica Lenardson, have more.
Miss Cassopolis Paige Breden made Kyra’s court as second runner-up, along with First Runner-up Megan Head, Miss Eau Claire-Sodus, and Miss Congeniality Kali Drake, Miss Hartford.
Rounding out the top 10 were Miss St. Joseph Ashley Dempsey, Miss Bloomingdale Lauren Nadeau, Miss Watervliet Alyson Wendzel, Miss South Haven Lindsay Fisher, Miss Buchanan Rebecca Kastner, Miss Benton Harbor Joy Joseph and Miss Berrien Springs Raechel Zahrn.
Kyra, 22nd of the 22 community queen contestants, is the daughter of Chuck and Michelle Heit. She wants to become a dental hygienist.
“I would describe myself as a fun, outgoing young woman who loves to be involved with anything and everything I can.”
She told judges she would be the best choice because “I believe I could set out a positive example to not only the youth in this Great Southwest, but also to the people in the communities. I want to branch out and help get involved and be the young woman that everyone can look up to.”
“I see myself as a good role model to young children,” Kyra says, “because peer pressure is starting at a younger age now. I am involved with PSI (Postponing Sexual Involvement), where we are able to teach middle school students the importance of being abstinent and making good decisions to prepare them for the real world.”
Kyra is most proud of her most valuable volleyball player award “because that showed me that my team put me as a leader and someone they can always count on.”
Until last night, her most memorable experience was being crowned Miss New Buffalo.
Kyra’s school activities include varsity volleyball and softball, Student Senate, PSI, SADD, Future Educators of America, class treasurer and Spanish Honors Society.
Miss Blossomtime’s extra-curricular activities include Big Brothers Big Sisters, Sunshine Gap charity work in Tennessee, varsity volleyball and softball, volleyball camps for younger children, Special Olympics, prom committee and yearbook.
First Runner-up Megan Head, Contestant 5, is vice president of Student Council, vice president of her senior class, president of the yearbook committee and a National Honor Society member. She won $500 for selling the most program ads.
Megan, who wants to graduate from college with a nursing degree and become a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit, describes herself as a “fun, smart, energetic and loving Christian who works hard to achieve my goals. I am most proud of the award I received for having a 4.0 GPA all through high school because I worked very hard to achieve that goal.”
As a role model, “I am a very strong, confident young woman who does not give into peer pressure, which are all very important qualities for a good role model,” Megan said.
She pitched herself to judges as the best choice because “I have been raised in a strong, supportive Christian home. As a result, I have many good values and strong morals. I am kind, understanding and I do as I am told by my elders. I am a leader and I do not give in to peer pressure. I am smart, hard-working and I always do the best that I possibly can. I want to have a positive impact in my community along with the surrounding communities and being chosen as Miss Blossomtime would allow me to do just that.”
Megan’s most memorable experience was scuba diving with her family in Mexico.
“I have been fascinated with undersea life ever since,” she says. “It was truly amazing.”
Her extra-curricular activities include cheerleading, softball, horseback riding and going to church. Glenn and Shelly Head are her parents.
Paige, daughter of Eric and Donna Breden, competed as Contestant 20 and wants to become a dental surgeon. “I enjoy playing tennis, volleyball and cheering,” she says. “I am a member of National Honor Society and SADD. I love scrapbooking, running and spending time with family and friends. I also work in my spare time as well as volunteer for as many charity events as possible.”
“My most memorable experience, besides winning Miss Cassopolis, would be auditioning for ‘American Idol,’ the singing competition. I met many amazing people and learned a lot about myself. I am outgoing, motivated, determined, loving, responsible, confident, self-disciplined and hard-working. I am most proud of being fortunate to receive the most improved player award from my tennis coach because I worked as hard as I could to improve, not only myself, but to help others improve as well.”
As for being a role model to underclassmen and young children, Paige says, “I strive to reach all of the goals I set forth for myself. No matter what happens, I always try helping and supporting others. I try being responsible and making positive decisions in life. I have learned to try to keep a positive attitude no matter the situation because it always could be worse.”
Miss Cassopolis made her case to judges this way: “I have grown into a very responsible, caring and respectful young lady. I have taken on many challenges and have conquered them. I am caring and kind to all those who come to me for advice and I try living by the motto, ‘Never step on anyone as you move up the ladder of success because you will meet them again on your way back down.’ When something bad happens, I learn from it and grow from it. If chosen, I will work hard, smile always and represent to the best of my ability.”
Miss Congeniality Kali Drake, Contestant 21 between Paige and Kyra, is the daughter of Russell Drake and Deborah Sexton. She dances for the Lake Michigan Admirals professional basketball team. She wants to attend Western Michigan University to obtain a degree in sports marketing.
Kali is on Hartford’s Student Council, class secretary two years, executive treasurer one year, varsity sideline cheerleading four years, varsity volleyball, varsity competitive cheerleading and prom committee. She also participates in DECA.
“My most memorable experience was spending a week in Branson, Mo., with my family and my best friend,” Kali says, describing herself as “an honest, hard-working, 17-year-old with goals and ambitions to become the best person I can be while representing myself and my community in a positive way. Out of the awards I have received, I am most proud of becoming Homecoming princess because out of all the nominees, the students in my school chose me.”