Festival Queen contestants & Community Service
The selection of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen is a long-standing tradition that dates back to 1960, the year before Urbanna Days became the Urbanna Oyster Festival. The first queen was crowned on a flatbed trailer on the day of the festival.
The tradition of crowning a Little Miss Spat along with the Queen began in 1966.
As the Oyster Festival evolved over the years, so has the selection of the Queen and Little Miss Spat. It originally was a type of beauty pageant, but is now a scholarship competition for the Queen contestants, who also must complete a community service project.
The Queen competition starts early in the summer and extends until the crowning takes place on Friday of the Oyster Festival.
The crowning of the Queen at the upcoming 52nd Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 6, at 4 p.m. at Taber Park on Rappahannock Avenue. The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 6-7.
The Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers and Miss Congeniality.
The Southside Sentinel will profile two Queen contestants and their Little Miss Spat contestants each week. Each Queen contestant wrote a press release on their project and background.
As in the past, Queen contestants must be a high school senior and a resident of Middlesex County. Each Queen contestant selects a girl in the first grade to compete as her Little Miss Spat. (A “spat” is a baby oyster.) The Little Miss Spat finalists are selected independently of the Queen.
The judges are not residents of Middlesex County.
This year’s Queen contestants, in alphabetical order, and their Little Miss Spat hopefuls include: Lindsey Ballantyne and Natalie Cutler, Amanda Blake and Jenna Ancell, JaLisa Carter and Airiana Beverley, Sarah Daniel and Janie Allen, Susan Dunaway and Kaelyn Sibley, Cydney Fisher and RuthAnne Key, Maggie Hall and Laura Walton, Catherine Harris and Katie Brooke, Susan Heyman and Ariyana Jackson, Stephanie Hutton and Emma Gresham, Kendall McNamee and Sara Paige Murray, Libbie Randolph and Brooke Brohawn, Micah Reed and Laila Dixon, and Katherine Wood and Ellie McMinn. Madeline Hurd also is participating as a Little Miss Spat contestant.
Cydney Fisher, a senior at Middlesex High School, worked with Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Prevention Services in Saluda as her community service project. Cydney partnered with these services to bring awareness to the community about drugs.
Cydney’s project consisted of three parts. The first part was publicizing her project through speeches. She spoke at two different functions at the lower and upper end of the county. Her first speech was at St. Clare Walker Middle School before the Missoula Children’s Theater production of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” She told the audience, “The only way to prevent drugs is by starting in the home. I know your children may take certain classes in school that may deal with drug prevention, but if they see you, the parents, not doing any illegal substances you give them someone to look up to and rely on.”
The second place she spoke was during her church’s (Mt. Zion Baptist Church ) annual homecoming. She told the congregation about the effects of drugs and how they can be prevented.
The second part of her project dealt with getting the word out by doing hands-on activities. She did this by holding two Project Sticker Shocks and a bake sale. A project Sticker Shock is when youths and adults gather to place stickers on alcoholic beverages stating that it is illegal for a person over 21 to buy alcohol for minors.
The first of the Project Sticker Shock was held at the Food Lion grocery store in Saluda. The second was held at the Deltaville Market. Cydney did both activities with a group of volunteers. Cydney and her spat contestant, as well as the volunteers, covered each store in stickers.
The bake sale was held at Big John’s store in Church View. She raised almost $90 for Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Prevention Services.
The third part of her project was used to educate the community about drugs and their harmful side effects. She did this by holding a mini R.A.L.L.Y. at Antioch Baptist Church in Saluda. This event was a condensed version of the larger annual R.A.L.L.Y., which is held in the spring. Cydney’s R.A.L.L.Y. consisted of two keynote speakers and an array of activities to help the community better understand the problem with drugs.
“I feel like I have achieved a lot by spreading the word about drugs,” said Cydney. “Even though I have worked with the Prevention Services before, I have never felt such a feeling of accomplishment. By getting the word out I may not have helped everyone, but if I make just one small difference in a person’s life I feel as if I did some good.”
Cydney participated in a a variety of activities at Middlesex High. These included: Key Club for 2 years, current treasurer; Spanish Club for 2 years, president her freshman year; Book Club for 4 years; Student Government Association (SGA), current co-president; Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), competed at the district and state levels and attended the National Conference in Anaheim, Calif., her junior year; Building Black Achievers (BBA) for 4 years; Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for 4 years; member of MHS Concert Band for 2 years; and Junior Class vice president.
Also, Cydney attended 4-H Congress at Virginia Tech for 3 years; chosen for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference(HOBY) her sophomore year; and this past summer was chosen for a program at the College of William and Mary called “Economics For Leaders (EFL).
Also, she is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society; and was inducted into the National Society of High Scholars, Who’s Who Among American Scholars and Who’s Who Among Minority Leaders.
She has participated in an array of sports at MHS, such as Color Guard for 4 years, current captain; soccer for 2 years as team manager her sophomore year and All-Academic Team performer her junior year; a cheerleader; and a member of the forensics team for two years and advanced to regional competition as a junior.
She has been the “Morning Announcement Person” at MHS for 3 years; yearbook staff for 2 years and is the current writer; a library aide for 2 years; played Mrs. Darbus in MHS’s production of “High School Musical”; and played Lucy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”
Cydney’s community involvement consists of the following: has been in a summer production of the Missoula Children’s Theater for 9 years; a 4-H Counselor for 3 years; mistress of ceremony for 3 consecutive years at the Annual R.A.L.L.Y. sponsored by Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Prevention Services; volunteered in the library at Prevention Services; a counselor-in-training at the Middlesex YMCA where she volunteered over 200 hours; and a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church where she is the Sunday school secretary and part of the youth choir and usher board.
After graduation, Cydney plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. Her “dream school” is New York University in New York City.
She is the daughter of Cynthia Reede-Fisher, and the granddaughter of Soney and Mildred Reede of Church View. She has one sibling, Darrien Fisher.
Cydney’s Little Miss Spat is RuthAnne Key, a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. RuthAnne enjoys playing softball and is a Daisy Scout. She loves to go swimming and to be the flower girl in weddings. She likes to spend a lot of quality time with her family. RuthAnne has 4 siblings, Damian, Toney, Diamondnique and Tyrell. RuthAnne is the daughter of Toney and Dawn Key of Topping.
Sarah Daniel, a senior at Middlesex High School, spent her summer raising money for the Rappahannock General Hospital Cancer Center. “I chose this as my community service project because of my grandfather and my grandmother, who are currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment,” Sarah said.
She started her project by meeting with hospital employees and the cancer center directors about having a bake sale to raise money. She then talked with businesses and individuals to donate time and baked goods. Some of the local supporters were the Dragon Run Inn, Chandler Automotive, BB&T, and Dr. Eric Miller.
“I learned from my community service project how much we need to keep the cancer center open,” said Sarah. “I also learned how caring our community is and how willing they are to help. I will continue to remind people of our need for their services and I will continue to raise money.”
Throughout high school Sarah has been unable to attend full time due to medical problems, but has managed to pass all classes with A’s and B’s. “I stayed involved with as many school events as possible and make a point to always be there for my friends. I always say my body might fail me, but my spirit never will,” she said.
Sarah plans to attend Rappahannock Community College.
Sarah is a member of Cross Roads Church where she is an active member of their youth group. She is employed at Bethpage Mini Golf and Ice Creamery. She is the daughter of Cheri and Harvey Daniel of Jamaica. She is the granddaughter of Sandra Chandler and the late John Paul Chandler Sr. of Urbanna, and Kathryn and Roland Daniel of Jamaica. She has one sister, Kathryn Hubbard, and brother-in-law, Billy Hubbard.
Her Little Miss Spat contestant is Janie Allen, a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. Janie is the daughter of Libby and Steven Allen of Deltaville. She likes swimming in the river, playing tennis, reading and playing soccer. Janie’s favorite musicians are Etta James, Ray Charles and Robbin Thompson. Janie attends Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond and Christ Church in Middlesex.