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Queen contestants give back to their community

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Arviet Underwood and Mona’ Peters
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Colleen Rae and Kaytlyn Miller
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 including, BB&T Bank, Bethpage Camp-Resort, Bons Secours, C&F Bank, Colonial Virginia Bank, EVB Bank, Grey’s Point Camp, Rappahannock Concrete Corporation, Rosegill LLC, and Thurston Properties.

Additional sponsors for the Little Miss Spat Competition include Bristow-Faulkner Funeral Home, GLF Lawn Care/Landscaping and Urbanna Auto Marine Sales.

The 2008 Urbanna Oyster Festival sponsors include the Bank of Lancaster, BB&T Bank, Bons Secours, C&F Bank, EVB Bank, GEICO, Kathleen M. Hall CPA, Rappahannock General Hospital, Revere Gas and Appliance, Rosegill Development LLC, The Allen Group Inc., The National Guard, and the Virginia Lottery.

Queen profiles

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.

Mona’ Peters

Mona’ Peters, a senior at Middlesex High School, is a member of Future Educators Association (FEA), Building Black Achievers (BBA), Raising Aspirations with Higher Expectations and Resources (RAHER), Book Club, a volunteer for Middlesex athletic games (usually runs concession stand or keep stats), and is an officer in the Key Club. 

In 2007 Peters received the Key Club’s “Above and Beyond Award.”

Peters is an honor roll student.

Peters said she enjoys giving back to her community and showing her school spirit.

For her community service project, she volunteered at Riverside Convalescent Center-Saluda. The purpose of her project was to make the elderly happy and spend time with them. Since so many of them lack contact from their families, she wanted to give them something to look forward to each day.

Peters engaged in several activities with residents including playing bingo and “Go Fish,” styling hair, painting nails, reading stories, bowling, exercising, and her favorite—having room visits. “I never knew spending time with elderly people could be so much fun,” she said.

Peters said visiting residents in their room was the most heartwarming and special time she spent with them. “Most of the time all that the residents wanted was an ear to listen,” said Peters. “They went on and on about their past and all the special memories in their lives.”

Peters decided she would ask for donations by writing letters to  various businesses to help her raise money and purchase the residents a special gift. Businesses were very generous, and Peters raised about $230.

The day she passed out the gifts was special. “The residents were so excited and elated  about the gifts they received,” she said.

Peters said she learned a lot from her community service project. “It was a very rewarding experience,” she said.

Peters said that even though her community service project is over, it is not the end of her volunteering at Riverside Convalescent Center. She continues to spend time with the residents.

Mona’ is the daughter of Barbara and Jerry Peters of Water View.

Peters’ Little Miss Spat contestant is Arviet Underwood of Urbanna, the daughter of Robin Underwood, and the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Underwood.  She is a first grade student at Middlesex Elementary School. Arviet enjoys drawing and visiting zoos, aquariums and parks. She also loves fishing with her family. 

Kaytlyn Miller

For her community service project, Kaytlyn Miller, a 17-year-old senior at Mathews High School, organized a swim-a-thon to benefit the Deltaville Community Pool.
Starting in early summer, Miller began to search the community for participants to sponsor the upcoming swim-a-thon. “Through preparing for my project, it proved to me how supportive my community is,” she said. She and her Little Miss Spat contestant, Colleen Rae, spent time putting up flyers and visiting sponsors.

The day of the event, Miller was happy to see the variety of faces that showed up. “It was great to see the community work together toward one common goal,” she said.

Her project was a success, and she reached her goal of benefiting her community.

Miller has been on the honor roll each grading period during her high school career. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Bible Club and Key Club, the Beta Club historian, and Senior Class historian.

She is an active member of Cornerstone Fellowship Church’s youth group. She enjoys swimming on her local swim team, the Deltaville Sharks. This past summer she took the responsibility of coaching kick boarding for her swim team.

Miller will enroll into a flying class this fall to reach her dream of becoming a private pilot.

Miller works part time as a lifeguard at Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Deltaville. She plans to attend college after graduation. Her plan is to attend Virginia Tech School of Architecture and enter the five-year program in interior design.

She is the daughter of Barry and Mitzie Miller of Deltaville.

Miller’s Little Miss Spat, Colleen Rae, is daughter of Scott and Sarah Rae of Urbanna. Colleen is a first-grader at Ware Academy. She loves ballet, horseback riding and playing soccer.

posted 10.08.2008

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