“I always dreamed of being Miss Penticton,” said Jolene Hayter, whose dream came true Friday at the Cleland Theatre when she was named Miss Penticton Queen Valvadette the 64th.
Hayter was pinned against 10 other girls in an eight-month program aimed to hone the girls into the perfect municipal ambassadors before choosing the top three to live it out over the next year.
Although only three girls receive the coveted ambassador positions and are able to call themselves royalty, all of the girls that go through the program learn skills, such as public speaking, that are both beneficial and valuable in many aspects of their lives, the most meaningful prize that they all walk away with.
“Crown or not, it would have been worth it because of how much you grow,” said Hayter of the experience she obtained. “I learned that it’s good to be courageous and to always give your best … There was really tough competition, every girl deserved to win.”
With Hayter’s extended list of volunteer work, including involvement in humanitarian trips in Mexico and on East Hastings Street in Vancouver, as well as her life’s desire to simply serve others, it is no wonder she was the judges’ number one pick.
“I love that the new royalty are humble humanitarians,” said Maria Nordlund, local interior designer and one of the five judges for the Miss Penticton Program.
“Their compassion, philanthropy and talent are truly outstanding. In my opinion, magnificence personified in a tiara and high heels.”
Friday night wasn’t just Hayter’s moment though, Nikita Afonso and Kate Holowaty were crowned as princesses, and last year’s royalty gave their farewells.
“It’s exciting to pass on the crown to another girl,” said retiring queen Danielle Chetner, who will be attending university to become a pediatrician. “My favourite memories were of all of the trips. We got really close to the other royalty because we would all be at the festivals every weekend … I know (retiring) is nice now but I think I’ll miss it in a week.”