RIPON – Having her mother volunteering as part of the court of the Ripon Almond Blossom Queen several years ago gave Camila Sweaney an early taste of what the event was all about.
So when she finally got her chance to submit the paperwork, the Ripon High senior didn’t waste any time.
“I had been around it a lot because my mom had helped out, and I knew then that I wanted to do it already,” Sweaney said. “It seemed like a lot of fun, and like you got to learn a lot about yourself at the same time.”
When she isn’t hitting the books, Sweaney is usually hard at work as the editor of the yearbook. She’s also involved in the Link Crew that helps freshman students get accustomed to life in high school, and the Renaissance Club.
And getting the chance to represent the town that she’s grown to love since moving to from the Bay Area is something that she’s eager to attempt.
“It was a big change when I first came here, but I made friends really fast and got to know a lot of people who accepted me,” she said. “Having that small town feel where you know everyone and it seems like everyone is your friend is one of the reasons I love it here.”
But the march towards wearing that crown, Sweeney hopes, will also give her some room for personal growth as she nears high school graduation and the big leap into adulthood.
“I think that doing this will help me grow as a person and improve my communication skills with people,” Sweaney said. “I’ve already made some friends, and I’m really looking forward to the rest.”
Other candidates this year are: Kate Ballatore, daughter of Mike & Kelly Ballatore, Karmie Goforth, daughter of David Goforth and Kristie Watts, Courtney Bryanne Netjes, daughter of Mark & LaDonna Netjes, Alexsandra Patricia Marie Peralta, daughter of Ron & Janine Van Groningen, Kimberly Jeane Stegner, daughter of Vincent & Athena Engel, and Michelle Ambrose, daughter of Ray & Betty Ambrose.
The Almond Blossom Festival is the last weekend in February.
The Ripon Chamber of Commerce is holding their 47th Annual Almond Blossom Kick Off and Tribute Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Ripon Community Center, 334 Fourth St. starting at 6 p.m.
The Chamber is honoring Soroptimist International Ripon this year. The theme is “Serving 18 Years of Community Service”, and the grand marshal is Judy Tvedt.