The 80th annual Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival will run in Wellsboro through June 19, culminating in the crowning of the 2022 Laurel Queen.
The 2021 Laurel Queen, Miss Central Mountain Jocelyn Renninger, will be crowning her successor, according to a press release.
The Laurel Festival Parade, themed “Music of America,” will feature all 27 Laurel Queen candidates waving to the crowd from floats. The parade starts at 2 pm Saturday, with coronation ceremonies at 6:30 pm in the Deane Center’s Coolidge Theatre.
Students from 13 area schools are among the candidates for Laurel Queen:
Nicole Marie Embick is representing Bucktail Area High School. She is the daughter of Tracy and Jeff Embick of Chapman Township, near North Bend.
Embick enjoys playing sports, hunting, fishing, baking, listening to music and spending time with her friends and family.
This fall, Embick plans to attend the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport to earn an associate of applied science degree in nursing and become a registered nurse.
Ashley Rich is representing Central Mountain High School. She is the daughter of Tammy Rich of Bald Eagle Township.
Rich enjoys hunting and participating in sports.
This fall, Rich plans to attend Penn State University in State College and major in kinesiology and exercise science and minor in coaching to be a pediatric sports medicine specialist.
Haley Marie Shadle is representing Jersey Shore Area Senior High School. She is the daughter of Nichole and Sherman Shadle of Pine Creek Township.
Shadle enjoys traveling, competing in swimming and tennis, and spending time with her friends, family, and pet French Bulldogs.
This fall, she plans to attend Pennsylvania State University in State College to pursue a degree in biology. Her goal is to be a dentist. She hopes to someday travel to third world countries to provide dental care to the underprivileged.
Natalie St. James is representing Montgomery Area Junior/Senior High School. She is the daughter of Tammy and Phil St. James of Clinton Township.
In the 11th and 12th grades, St. James was on the varsity track team, a student council member and volunteered at the food bank.
This fall, St. James plans to attend Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., to earn a degree in diagnostic medical sonography.
Ruby Anne Muse is representing Montoursville Area High School. She is the daughter of Julia Muse of Montoursville and Dale Brion of Liberty.
Muse is a competitive target archer and was a student and volunteer at Epic Percussion, a Williamsport percussion school and retail outlet.
Following graduation in 2023, Muse plans to attend a four-year college and major in nursing, with a minor in Spanish. Muse hopes to study and/or volunteer abroad with a nursing program in a Spanish-speaking country.
Hayley Ridge is representing North Penn-Liberty Junior/Senior High School. She is the daughter of Mandy and Christopher Ridge of Roaring Branch in Jackson Township.
Ridge will be attending Mansfield University this fall. She was awarded a Mansfield University Presidential Scholarship and plans to major in business administration and minor in Spanish. Her goal is to become a manager at a corporate chain such as Walmart.
Alison Davey is representing North Penn-Mansfield High School. She is the daughter of Andrea and Craig Lee of Richmond Township and Todd Davey of Mansfield.
Davey snowboards, bakes, runs an Etsy business and loves to travel.
From September of this year through June of 2023, Davey will attend and complete the cosmetology program at Cheeks Beauty Academy in Cheyenne, Wyoming and then plans to return to her hometown to work at a hair salon. Her goal is to open a salon of her own.
Gianna Marie Godfrey is representing South Williamsport Area Junior/Senior High School. She is the daughter of Jessica Clark of Williamsport and Michael Godfrey of South Williamsport.
In 1998, Godfrey’s mother represented South Williamsport and was crowned Laurel Queen that year.
This fall, Godfrey plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and major in exercise science.
Jaden Nixon is representing St. John Neumann Regional Academy. She is the daughter of Alicia Faulkner of Williamsport and Cleavon Nixon of Nassau, Bahamas.
Nixon enjoys exercising at the gym, sketching and practicing Spanish.
After graduation in 2023, Nixon plans to major in criminal justice and minor in psychology and earn a master’s degree.
Zoe Pedro is representing Sullivan County Junior/Senior High School. She is the daughter of Nichole and Christopher Pedro of Cherry Township.
Pedro enjoys art, traveling, cosmetics and skiing.
This fall, Pedro plans to attend Georgia Southern University in Statesboro to earn a degree in radiologic sciences with a minor in studio art. Her goal is to be a diagnostic ultrasound technician.
Alayna Wilkins is representing Warrior Run High School. She is the daughter of Rachel and Bruce Wilkins of Delaware Township.
Wilkins enjoys playing team sports as well as hiking and other outdoor activities.
This fall, Wilkins will attend the honors program at Geneva College in Beaver Falls and major in communication disorders and minor in Spanish. She plans to become a bilingual speech language pathologist and would like to continue doing mission work and travel to Spanish-speaking countries.
Regan Laurel Regina is representing Wellsboro Area High School. She is the daughter of Gretchen Regina and Chad Tennis of Wellsboro and Che Regina of Royersford.
Regina enjoys singing, painting, and boating.
This fall, Regina plans to attend Penn State University in State College to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering and physics. Her goal is to work for NASA as an aerospace engineer.
Mia Isabella Birch is representing Williamsport Area High School and her community as a Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen candidate. She is the daughter of Michelle Pulizzi of Williamsport and Tony Birch of South Williamsport.
Birch has studied dance at the Milissa Augustine Dance Academy in Williamsport and enjoys drawing, writing, photography and modeling.
After graduation in 2023, Birch plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and major in environmental science with a minor in astronomy. Her goal is to be a scientist and work for NASA.