Queen contestants active in community
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 has 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 Oyster Festival.
The crowning of the Queen at the upcoming 51st Urbanna Oyster Festival will take place on Friday, November 7, at 4 p.m. in Taber Park on Rappahannock Avenue in Urbanna. The Oyster Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, November 7-8.
Urbanna Oyster Festival Queen Scholarship Competition awards scholarships to the top three Queen finishers and Miss Congeniality.
The scholarships are available through the generosity of local sponsors.
The Southside Sentinel is profiling two Queen contestants and their Little Miss Spat contestants each week. The Queen contestants wrote a press release on their projects and a brief biography on themselves.
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.
This year’s queen contestants, in alphabetical order, and their Little Miss Spat hopefuls include: Ashae Burnett and Lyndsey Holmes, Larkin Epstein and Amber Daughtry, Ashley Figg and Hope Britton, Kristin Jessie and Alexis Davis, Katlin Major and Abigail Purcell, Lindsay Matthews and Lyndsey Hudson, Kaytlyn Miller and Colleen Rae, Mona’ Peters and Arviet Underwood, Katrina Reed and Devin Cooke, Lamia Robinson and Dashanti Redmond, Whitney Walton and Avery Walden, and Savannah Williams and Samantha Wright. Caroline Painter also is participating as a Little Miss Spat contestant.
Kristin Jessie, a senior at Middlesex High School, held a benefit car wash and bake sale on August 9 at the Urbanna firehouse to help raise money for her community service project. Jessie’s community service project was to hire a septic service company to pump out septic tanks for several elderly and less fortunate citizens of Middlesex.
|Alexis Davis and Kristin Jessie|
Funding for the septic pump-out came easy. Most of her money came from recycling cans and scrap metal. She raised $997 dollars for the septic tank pump-out project.
Jessie said she realizes the Chesapeake Bay is very important to the community. “By making sure your septic tank is pumped regularly can help preserve the bay,” she said. “Under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, you are required to have your septic tank pumped every five years. If you don’t take care of your septic tank like you are supposed to, then it can harm the community as well as the citizens in it.”
Jessie is a regular participant in various sports and clubs at MHS. She is a member of BBA/Rahar, Key Club, Book Club, DECA, FBLA and SGA.
For her junior year, she was chosen to be on the homecoming court and was a member of the prom committee. She also attended Barbizon Modeling School in Virginia Beach last year and graduated in November.
Jessie has been a Middlesex cheerleader for five years and said she loves supporting her school. She has also participated in basketball, tennis, track and the color guard.
After graduation, Jessie plans to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and major in fashion designing.
Jessie said she would love to travel around the world and meet some of the best fashion designers.
Her interests include reading, cheering, drawing designs, spending time with her family and friends, and shopping.
She is the daughter of Wayne and Vivian Jessie of Church View.
Jessie’s Little Miss Spat contestant is Alexis Davis. Alexis is 6 years old and a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. She is the daughter of Casey and Ashley Davis of Urbanna. Alex enjoys swimming, playing with her dog Casey, watching Hannah Montana, and playing with her doll babies. When Alexis grows up she would love to be a nurse.
For her community service project Ashae Burnett, a 17-year-old senior at Middlesex High School, hosted 3-on-3 basketball tournaments.
|Lyndsey Holmes and Ashae Burnett|
“Basketball is my passion,” Burnett said. “I knew this tournament would be so much fun. My main focus was to get involved and teach the younger teens what I knew while learning from my elders.
“The younger children were so shy and nervous at first,” said Burnett, who gathered a couple of other Middlesex varsity basketball players and challenged the children to a game. She had to offer them an older player to convince them to play, so she chose the varsity basketball coach William Griffin, who volunteered and helped conduct all the games. “The varsity players won, of course, but we had so much fun,” she said.
Burnett loves playing basketball. She started playing in the Middlesex Youth Basketball League when she was nine years old. She made the Middlesex varsity basketball team as a freshman. “Teaching children what my coaches, family, and friends have taught me is fun, but watching them apply that information while making themselves better amazes me,” said Burnett. “I had a JV player call me to tell me she scored two points in her game and that really excited me.”
Burnett raised $1,076 and has donated it to the Children with Cancer Society. The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club that Burnett is involved in raises money for this society every year and they do it all year long.
Burnett is a member of the Middlesex National Honor Society. She has been involved in BBA, FBLA, DECA, FCA and the book club at MHS.
Burnett is a four-year varsity basketball player. She has made first team All-Tidewater District three years in a row, and second team All-Region A last season.
She also is a member on the Middlesex track team and placed first in the Tidewater District and Region A for the shot put, and placed 11th at the State Group A meet. She also is playing varsity volleyball this season.
Burnett is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church where she serves as an usher and a trustee. Burnett sings in the mass choir and youth choir. She also is the head of the youth ushers.
Burnett plans to attend a four-year college. She is hoping to earn a degree in the medical field or as an accountant.
Burnett’s Little Miss Spat contestant is Lindsey Holmes. Lindsey is a first-grader at Middlesex Elementary School. She is the daughter of Charles and Lynnette Holmes of Urbanna.
Lindsey was a volunteer at Burnett’s tournament and played basketball with Burnett and helped keep score. “I just love Lindsey,” Burnett said. “It took a while for her to warm up to me, but she really is sweet. We have a couple of things in common, like she loves to sing.”
Lindsey’s favorite color is yellow, and enjoys dancing and playing with her younger sister Chelsea.