Seven candidates vie for fair queen

By Martin Graham -

Haley Copas

Haley Copas

Harley Dawson

Jordan Bernard

Kasi Payton

Mariah Carter

Victoria Schappacher

McKenzie Riley

The 2018 Fayette County Junior Fair is quickly approaching and seven young ladies have thrown their hats in the ring, vying for the honored position of fair queen.

According to the Queen’s Tea coordinator Lisa Schwartz, applicants will be judged not only on an application, but also a personal interview and how well they perform at public speaking. The best way to select a queen is to utilize a judge that has little chance of knowing any of the candidates, giving them all an equal chance to make a great first impression. In the past, fair queens from various other counties have selected the queen for Fayette County, including a previous Warren County Fair Queen and others.

The ladies competing for queen submitted their own bios:

– Haley Copas, a 2018 graduate of Washington High School, is the daughter of Shane Copas of Washington C.H. As an active member of her school and community, Copas has shown tremendous strength, motivation and dedication. Throughout her high school career she has been a member of Washington High School’s volleyball, cross country, softball and track teams. In addition to her athletic background, Copas has been a proud member of the Washington Band Program, participating in concert, marching and pep bands.

Even through maintaining a busy after-school schedule, Copas has been dedicated and focused on her schoolwork and education. She will end her high school career with a strong business background; completing high school of business classes, enrolling in college credit plus courses and maintaining a cumulative 3.5 GPA. While her schoolwork and extra-curriculars have kept her busy, Haley has not shied away from being active in her community as well. As a seven-year member of the 4-H Fun Bunch and Fayette Land & Livestock 4-H clubs, Copas has held numerous offices such as environmental officer and community service officer, and has participated in various shows with her hogs. She enjoys being active in her community and has mastered balancing her busy school, sport and 4-H schedule all while working 30 hours a week at the Chipotle in Jeffersonville and Gowntastic in Columbus. Upon graduating, Copas will be attending Bradford College in the fall where she will major in physical therapy.

– Harley Marie Dawson, daughter of Allen D. and Dawn R. Dawson, is a recent honors diploma graduate of Washington High School, where she has stayed active in both school and community activities. While in high school, Dawson was active in cheerleading for both football and basketball, marching band, pep band, concert band, symphonic band, track and field, softball and swim team, all the while maintaining honor roll. She was also a member of DECA and There and Back Travel group, going to France and Italy the summer before starting her senior year.

Dawson’s involvement with the community includes being a member of The Gathering Place Church, four years with Girl Scouts of the USA and her 10th year in 4-H where she currently shows market and breeding rabbits. She has been a member of the Junior Fair Board and has also shown a number of other projects throughout her 4-H career, including dairy and market goats, collectibles, and “You and Your Dog.” She has participated in cookie bake-offs and entered the “Student Division Drawing and Painting,” earning her a best of show, and the children 15 and under baking division for numerous years in the senior fair.

Harley is currently a member of the Above and Beyond 4-H club where she is currently serving as vice president. Her club has been active in community service each year by collecting supplies to make kits for the homeless and collecting food for the food pantry. Harley loves being an active member of school and community with hopes of being crowned 2018 fair queen to show little girls of Fayette County that you don’t always have to take projects with large animals to still be crowned queen. Upon graduation, she will be attending Cedarville University majoring in nursing with hopes to become a pediatric nurse at a Children’s Hospital.

– Jordan Bernard, the daughter of Mike and Deidre Bernard, has been a member of the 4-H program for the past eight years. In those eight years, she has served as a member of the Fayette County Jr. Fair Board, the Teen Leadership Council, and as a camp counselor. Besides 4-H, Bernard has also been involved in several school activities and was very active in sports, music and the many clubs available at her school. Through her schoolwork and all of the extra-curriculars, Bernard said she has been very busy, but because of all the activities she was involved in she has learned many important life lessons.

One of the most notable lessons she said she learned was the importance of friendship, and she learned all of this through 4-H. Bernard said she has made many friends through 4-H and they are many of the reasons why she loves it so much. She said if it wasn’t for 4-H she would not have met many of the people she now calls best friends. This wasn’t the only lesson 4-H taught her, as she has also learned how important community is and how to better connect to her community through projects her club did. She said just being able to interact with many people in her community. 4-H has been one of the most impactful programs in her life and she said for that she will always be grateful.

– Kasi Payton wrote a paragraph to explain all of the important lessons she learned in 4-H. “Being involved in 4-H since I was born has taught me valuable things. Like making new friends is important while keeping the old is even more important, because some friends are silver while the others are gold. To learning after crying for hours over a pig the reasoning behind why I could not bring my barrow home. Most importantly it has taught me the most valuable lesson in life: responsibility and leadership. I have learned these things by having to make sure that my animals are taken care of to the best ability and ready for the Fayette County Fair.”

“Even though 4-H has taught me life lessons like responsibility and leadership skills that are going to last me a lifetime, it has also taught me that the big chicken chasing after me that I was screaming about at the age of three was actually a turkey. It also gave me the opportunity to experience many projects from sewing to showing. From kids watching my every move to them running up to hug me at the fair made me realize you become a role model in the 4-H community without even realizing it. However, I am beyond blessed with 4-H being a part of my family. With the 4-H love running through my family’s blood it has made us form a strong alliance since we make preparing for the county fair a family event. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities and life lessons 4-H has given me.”

– Mariah Carter is a graduate from the digital arts and design program at Laurel Oaks and a graduate from Washington High School. She plans to attend Shawnee State University in the fall. This summer will mark her 10th year in the Pack-Rat Crafters 4-H club. During her career she has completed over 25 projects, including breeding and market rabbits, market goats, sewing, cooking, cake decorating, scrapbooking and so much more. She said that 4-H has given her the opportunity to explore many projects and learn a variety of skills, but also helped her determine what interests may lead to a future career.

Art education, art therapy and working in the health field have all become possible career choices as she pursues college this coming fall. Her 4-H projects have led her to strive to make the best better and work hard in all she does. 4-H has been a big part of her life because it has truly shaped Carter into the young adult she is today. Over the years, she said she wouldn’t have had the background and skills to expand her future if it hadn’t been for her family, school, church and 4-H. Even though her 4-H years are ending, she said she hopes that she has been able to spark interest in someone else that will love 4-H as much as she does.

– McKenzie Riley is the daughter of Shane Riley and is a 2018 graduate of Fayette Christian School. She has been very active in school throughout the years and has participated in volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, spring drama, American Christian Honor Society, BCSO Competition, Operation Christmas Child, yearbook and has worked as a teacher’s aide. In addition to being very active in school, she is also involved with cattle and 4-H. Raising and showing livestock has had a huge impact on her life. Throughout the past four years, she has bred cows, raised and sold calves on their family farm, and participated in 4-H.

She shows market beef steers and beef feeders, has shown in the Ohio Best of the Buckeye and Southern Ohio show circuits, and was crowned the 2016 Fayette County Beef Queen. During the four years that she has been in 4-H, she has been club treasurer, secretary, and environmentalist, she has been a junior superintendent, been on the opening ceremonies committee, the Teen Leadership Council and served two years on the Junior Fair Board in the cattle department. She currently serves as the 2018 Junior Fair Board president. She said she enjoys being a leader in her school and community. The friendships she has made and the lessons she has learned make her desire to continue to be involved in 4-H. Riley said she would love to serve as the 2018 Fayette County Fair Queen to inspire younger 4-H exhibitors to have a passion for 4-H just like her.

– Victoria Schappacher is the daughter of Leo and Mari Schappacher of Good Hope. She is a recent graduate of Ohio Virtual Academy. While at Ohio Virtual, she was a member of student council and served as secretary of the agricultural society. She graduated cum laude this year. Schappacher has been involved in 4-H for 10 years on the county, state and national level. She has taken a variety of 4-H projects that include; dairy heifers and cows, dairy feeders and steers, market and dairy goats, tractors, clothing, veterinary science projects, officer judging and other miscellaneous projects. She is a past Fayette County Dairy Princess.

Schappacher has served as an Ohio 4-H Ambassador, Junior Fair Board (treasurer), Fayette County Teen Leadership Council (president), Fayette County 4-H Tractor Club (president), Fayette County Family and Consumer Science Board (past president), Fayette County 4-H Advisory Board (youth representative), and a member of the Pigs-N-Things 4-H Club (treasurer). Schappacher was the 2017 Ohio 4-H Achievement award winner in dairy goats, and National Dairy Conference recipient. Last fall, she attended the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin and the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of Immaculate Conception Church and Parish. Schappacher wishes the best to all junior fair participants and hopes that each and every one of the can truly make their best better this year at the fair.

The Queens’ Tea will be held on Wednesday, June 27 where each candidate will have a chance to introduce themselves to their judge for an interview. The 139th-annual Fayette County Fair will be held July 16-21.

Stay with the Record-Herald for more on the 2018 Fayette County Junior Fair.

Haley Copas Copas

Harley Dawson Dawson

Jordan Bernard Bernard

Kasi Payton Payton

Mariah Carter Carter

Victoria Schappacher Schappacher

McKenzie Riley Riley

By Martin Graham

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy