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Pope enjoys Almond Blossom Festival fun

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Pope enjoys Almond Blossom Festival fun

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 14, 2013 12:06 a.m.

This won’t be Graelyn Pope’s first rodeo.

Last year the Ripon High School senior was a hit with her fellow Almond Queen candidates with her fun and friendly demeanor. She hopes that her devil-may-care attitude will win over a few of the judges this time around.

If you ask her why she’s making another go at it, she’ll say – with a straight face – that it’s really the only way that she can get into the Almond Blossom Parade.

But then she’ll laugh. And then she’ll smile. And then she’ll talk about how much fun she had participating in all of the events that she wholeheartedly believes made her a better person by participating.

After all, she said, that’s the idea of what the event is all about.

“I learned how to be as politically correct as possible in different situations, and when to use the proper behaviors,” she said. “When I learned that I had to give a speech in front of a large crowd of people I was extremely scared.

“But I got over being shy in a lot of ways. I didn’t even want to give a presentation in front of my English class, and here I was giving one before 175 people.”

The daughter of Jill and Shayne Pope, Graelyn is active in cheerleading, girl’s league and renaissance.

She is currently waiting to hear back from UCLA – her first collegiate choice – but has already been accepted to Fresno State. She hopes to either work as veterinarian or pursue a health field that deals specifically with people.

And when it comes to finding a way to pass the time she isn’t busy with her Advanced Placement studies or after-school activities, Pope enjoys pouring herself into her job as a party host at John’s Incredible Pizza in Modesto.

“I enjoy getting to work with little kids the way that I do,” she said. “I also babysit for two families that have little girls, and I love doing that as well.

“I love it but it’s not something that I want to pursue into college or ever afterwards. There are other things that I’ve always been interested in and that’s what I want to focus on.”

As part of the Almond Queen court Pope will be graded in multiple areas by three at-large judges and one secret judge that will be announced the night that Miss 2013 Almond Blossom is crowned.

All candidates will be expected to sell raffle tickets that will benefit the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, give a personal interview, deliver a speech at the Almond Blossom kick-off dinner (done last week) and model during the annual fashion show staged by the Ripon Soroptimists.

The 2013 Miss Almond Blossom will be crowned on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Ripon Community Center.

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