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Almond Blossom queen hopefuls lunch with Rotarians
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Almond Blossom Queen hopefuls shared their backgrounds with Ripon Rotarians during a lunch Wednesday at Spring Creek Country Club.
 Next up for the candidates is a visit to the Ripon Police Department that includes a  trip to the gun range for target shooting under the supervision of an officer.
In an essay contest, the candidates were asked to explain what they feel they can contribute to the community as queen.
Contest chair Laura Roots Spence told Rotarians that all the girls are juniors this year at their respective high schools.  In the past the chamber of commerce has realized that seniors following the coronation are busy getting ready for college, often out of the area and are often not available to be of service to the community.
Ripon High junior Genevieve Maurice – after delivering her presentation – admitted to being terrified about public speaking. 
Maurice, one of seven children, says she likes to be involved in new and innovative happenings.
Ashley Gomez was asked about her most embarrassing moment during the year.  Laughing she said it was actually in class when she had her earphones on and was listening to a singer – and singing along as everyone in her class eventually became quiet.  When she took the earphones off and looked around, other students applauded because she had continued singing. “They were all looking at me and I didn’t know I was singing that loud.”
Kayla Hutto told of her dad having retired from the U.S. Navy where he served as an oral surgeon.  With different sets of Navy geographical assignments, the family moved to different duty stations. Hutton attended a variety of elementary schools from San Diego to Texas.  She hopes to attend the Naval Academy and become a career officer.
Desiree Cruz-Sampson said she hopes to become a neurologist or anesthesiologist – noted she is “fascinated by medical stuff “– and possibly attending the University of Melbourne in Australia. 
Kristen King is enthusiastic about a future in Ag having grown up around horses.  She hopes to attend Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
Jessica Harlan said she is involved in agriculture and wants to do something with horses.  She said she became interested in the contest last year when a little girl walked up to her and asked her to take a picture with one of the past princesses.  She quickly realized how the contestants were being held up as role models by area children.
Sarah Shipherd is a junior at Central Catholic High School in Modesto where she says she benefits from the small school size where everyone knows everyone on campus.  After she graduates next year, she hopes to go to Cal Poly where she will major in civil engineering.
Following the luncheon, the queen candidates were swarmed by Rotarians who wanted to buy raffle tickets for the festival.  The monies earned will give the girls points toward their being chosen as queen and will go toward scholarships for the candidates.  Each has been given 1,000 tickets to sell that they are $1 each.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email