Orion girls enter fair queen pageant
? Two Orion area girls will vie for the title of Miss Henry County Fair Queen at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, in the grandstand at the Henry County Fairgrounds in Cambridge. Melissa Blumenshein, 20, of Coal Valley is the daughter of Kirk and Kandra Blumenshein of Coal Valley.
Amelia Martens, 17, is the daughter of Patrick and Annette Martens of Orion.
A 2007 graduate of Orion High School, Blumenshein is studying elementary education at Black Hawk College, Moline.
Blumenshein plans to have her associate degree by January 2010 and transfer to Western Illinois University.
She wants to teach in elementary school or work with children.
At OHS Blumenshein played four years of softball. She also spent four years on ASA teams and one year on the Ashford University squad. She now plays on a co-ed slow pitch team.
Blumenshein also was in band and color guard at OHS for four years. She served as color guard captain during two marching band seasons.
During the last three years, she has worked with pre-school children at a day care center. She will teach a class of 2-year-olds this summer.
Blumenshein enjoys reading, needlepoint, hanging out with friends and family, and shopping.
Martens will be a senior at Orion High School this fall. After graduation, she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications and attend law school.
Martens’ personal interests include pageantry, law, health, fitness, journalism, politics and agriculture.
A pageant veteran, she was the first runnerup in the fair queen contest last year. She was second runner-up in the Junior Miss Henry County Fair Queen contest in 2006.
At the Miss Mississippi Crown pageant two years ago, Martens was named Outstanding Teen. In the state Outstanding Teen contest, she was second runnerup.
Martens is a 4.0 student at Orion High School, where her activities include Student Council, Executive Council, National Honor Society, band and FFA.
She was chosen for the Illinois Music Educators Association’s All-District band every fall from 2004 through 2008, and she earned Superior I ratings on solo performances in Illinois Grade School Music Association and Illinois High School Association state contests for five years.
Martens is the Orion FFA chapter president and has served as reporter and Greenhand president.
In 2008, she was named one of the top 10 FFA reporters in Illinois. That same year she was a finalist in the statewide GROWMARK essay contest.
She has won FFA awards in public speaking, parliamentary procedure, ag sales, ag issues and job interview contests.
Martens also received the chapter STAR?Farmer award in 2008 and the chapter and Section 3 Star Greenhand awards in 2007.
She is also a member of the Orion Community Band, 4-H and the Henry County 4-H Federation, and she is an altar server at her church.
Since 2001, the offices she has held in her 4-H Club include president, vice president, secretary and reporter.
Over the last six years at the Henry County Fair, Martens has been a 4-H plaque winner for bucket calf, horticulture, child care, education, foods and soil conservation.
She is now serving as vice president of the 4-H Federation here in Henry County.
Martens’ community service activities include raising more than $1,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, helping with the Student Food Drive and the Linus Project at OHS, singing Christmas carols in a nursing home, picking up litter in the Adopt-a-Highway program and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
In her spare time, Martens likes to run, exercise, read, be outdoors, enjoy music, shop and spend time with her family and friends.
At the Tommy and Lindsey Nicholson Memorial 5K in 2006 and 2007, she claimed the first-place trophy in the female 14 to 19 age group.
Additional contestants for the pageant include Andrea Hemphill of Annawan, Brittany?Anderson and Katelyn Huffman of Galva, Chelsea Carlson, Angela Damitz, Ellie DeMay, Gabrielle Dye, Amy Stuart and Page Wahlig of Geneseo, Kaitlin Christakos, Alyssa Fisher, Megan McInyre, Alexi Strandberg and Valerie Sutton of Kewanee, and Bethany Nelson and Laurel Whitford of Cambridge.