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4th generation Riponite seeks crown
Taylor Ray
RIPON – Taylor Ray always wanted to be a part of the Ripon Almond Blossom Queen Court.

So making herself one of the seven contestants wasn’t that far of a stretch for the Ripon High School senior.

And now that she’s fulfilling one of her longtime goals, Ray hopes to get as much as she can out of the experience that is putting her more in touch with the community she loves to call home.

“I’m just really looking forward to representing Ripon,” Ray said. “I’m learning a lot of new things along the way about how this town comes together for the Almond Blossom Festival. I’m looking forward to making more memories with the other girls, and getting to know them better.”

Ray joins Lina Alahri, Samantha Conway, Rebekah Berryman, Erika Alhambra, Shelby Pettus and Christa Bishop as the seven young women vying for the title of 2011’s Miss Almond Blossom.

All seven contestants will be formally introduced to the community tonight when they step up to the lectern at the Spring Creek Country Club and give a prepared speech about the positive impact that the Ripon Quarterback Club has on the community.

And while Ray will have her hands full with her Almond Blossom responsibilities for the next month, she also has a full load at school with activities such as leadership, link crew, girl’s league, yearbook, renaissance, softball, volleyball and a stint as the yearbook editor.

She’s equally plugged in within the community as a Ripon Chiefs junior instructor, a vacation Bible school leader, a Sunday school leader and a member of the Ripon Grange.

When Ray isn’t busy with her numerous commitments, she likes to spend her time taking pictures, coaching, both playing and watching sports, writing and working with kids.

The most difficult thing for her to grasp about the entire Almond Queen process, she says, is the competition aspect.

“I don’t like thinking about it as a contest or a competition,” she said. “I like to think of it as a great opportunity, and an opportunity that all of the other girls would like to have as well.”

After graduation Ray would like to attend UC Merced where she plans to study cognitive science in order to become an occupational therapist.

Regardless of where her career takes her, the fourth generation Riponite plans to stay she feels comfortable in order to raise a family.

“I love this community,” Ray said. “I think that this is such a great place to grow up. It’s really a big deal to me being a fourth-generation resident, and that’s why I’m not going too far away from home when it comes to school. I want to raise my family here.”