Miss Dowagiac Lynsie Stolpe reflects on past year

DOWAGIAC — As the nation marks the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, at month’s end Lynsie Stolpe will conclude her reign as this community’s 81st Miss Dowagiac.

It was on Feb. 8, 2020 when Stolpe and her Court of Honor were crowned before a near-sell-out auditorium, turning their hopes and dreams into reality. Just over a month later, those dreams were dashed when the nation went into lock down, as the pandemic began rearing its head. 

A year later, as Stolpe looks back on her reign, she said it was anything but normal.  

“I experienced many things no other Miss Dowagiac has ever experienced before,” Stolpe said.  As unofficial goodwill ambassadors for Dowagiac, members of the Court of Honor also went into lockdown during the Stay at Home state mandate.  

“Rather than being out in the community physically, we used technology and social media to reconnect with the public,” Stolpe said.  

Following the Stay at Home mandate, the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant Executive Committee featured Stolpe and members of her Court of Honor in videos, as the young women welcomed back the business community, and shops downtown reopened.

“Videos that were filmed at select business locations downtown also served to remind the community to support the wonderful businesses in our city,” Stolpe said. “One of the biggest roles as Miss Dowagiac is to support and help lift up our community. Our on-location videos allowed us to accomplish this. When I started my Miss Dowagiac journey, sharpening my interview and speaking skills was something I was excited to do. During the last year, I received more training on this than I could have ever imagined. I learned how to read and speak in front of a camera, as if I was speaking in front of a crowd of people. I enjoyed meeting business owners in our city and having one-on-one conversations with them.

“Recently, I visited Hidden Acres Safe Haven, where I was able to play with kittens and take photos to promote their adoption.” Stolpe continued. “This event was like a dream come true — crowns and kittens! Although this past year was not what anyone expected, I am grateful for the lessons I learned and the support I received from the community. I had so many individuals help make this year special for me in many new and different ways.

“Being Miss Dowagiac will forever be one of my greatest honors. As I continue on my path in life, Dowagiac will always be the place that made me who I am today. This is something I will always be thankful for.”

Stolpe and her Court of Honor will make their final public appearance on Saturday, March 27, during the Easter Eggstravaganza Bunny Car Hop, presented from 10:30 to noon on Beeson Street by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.

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