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Sheldon crowned Kent's Miss Cornucopia
For Kelli Sheldon, the coronation was validation.
Kent's newly crowned Miss Cornucopia considers the honor humbling, a reflection of her tireless, fulfilling work in the community.
"I know that my work in the community is appreciated, meaningful to people," said the 19-year-old Sheldon, moments after receiving the tiara and a $3,000 scholarship from the Kent Lions Club in a ceremony at Town Square Plaza on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon. "I just want to be interacting with the community. Being Miss Cornucopia is a great way for me to meet everybody and celebrate our city."
Sheldon was a member of the royalty a year ago, serving as royal princess to Miss Cornucopia Tina Chen, a 2010 Kent-Meridian High School graduate who attends the University of Washington.
This time, Sheldon was chosen from four finalists. She represents Kent in Sunday's Cornucopia Days Grand Parade, and plans to make several public appearances throughout the year, including the farmers market and Kent Winterfest.
Sheldon also won the program's Community Involvement Award.
Candy Chang was chosen this year's royal princess, receiving a $750 scholarship from the Kent Lions Foundation. Leah Watson and Ella Anguiano will serve as princesses, with each receiving $500 scholarships from the foundation.
Chang also received the Community Academic Award.
Sheldon, daughter of Craig and Margene Sheldon of Kent, continues to stay connected to the community. She volunteers at Purrfect Pals, a no-kill cat shelter based in Arlington, and at FISH (Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery), where she talks to the public about the salmon's life cycle and water issues, and helps the hatchery manager feed and maintain the stock.
The scholarship prize will come in handy for Sheldon, who is studying environmental science at Western Washington University in Bellingham. She hopes one day to work in research for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Sheldon was an honors student at Kentridge High School. She has been an avid square dancer since age 7. She played in the school band and participated in solo and ensemble competitions.
Kent Cornucopia Days continue Saturday and Sunday in downtown Kent. The parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday along Fourth Avenue.
Participants in the Miss Cornucopia Scholarship Pageant showcase their talents through academics, creative expression, public speaking, community service and participation in many Seafair events.
Candy Chang was chosen Cornucopia Royal Princess, with outgoing queen, Tina Chen, in the background. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter