Preparations continue for Aug. 12 Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant

Candidates for the title of 2022 Sweet Corn Festival Queen, left to right, are Marisol Felix, Elizabeth Schillinger, Olivia Ross and Zoe Finley. (Photo contributed)

MENDOTA – Ten young women are busily preparing for this year’s Sweet Corn Festival Queen Pageant, which will be held on Friday, Aug. 12 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The pageant will take place on the First State Bank stage on U.S. 34 in downtown Mendota. 

Pre-pageant and intermission entertainment will feature the music of the Mendota High School Band, starting at 6:45 p.m.

Let’s introduce four more contestants in this year’s pageant. 

The Mendota Business and Professional Women have selected Elizabeth Schillinger to represent them in this year’s pageant. She is the daughter of Jeff and Cathy Schillinger. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and is five feet, six inches tall.

Schillinger is a 2022 graduate of Mendota High School, where she was actively involved in several clubs and organizations. She was a four-year FFA student, and she held many leadership roles within the organization. She served as reporter, vice-president, president, and was the section treasurer. Furthermore, she earned the Senior Leadership Award and worked hard to obtain the Illinois FFA State Degree. In addition to FFA, Schillinger was a member of the band and was the trombone section leader. She also participated in show choir, Interact Club, and Academic Challenge. A high honor student for four years, Schillinger held the office of secretary for the National Honor Society and is an Illinois State Scholar. Additionally, she received the Selbrede Physics Award and the LaSalle County Farm Bureau Scholarship.

This summer you might see Schillinger walking around corn and bean fields as a field scout for Northern Partners Coop. She scouts fields for bugs and diseases. In her spare time, she is a junior tae kwon do instructor and the owner of a pumpkin stand. She also enjoys painting, baking, reading, gardening, and tae kwon do, and her major interests include plants, music, and science.

This fall, Schillinger plans on attending Purdue University to get a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences. She plans on becoming a plant researcher and to work for a company that would contribute to the development of crops. She hopes to play a part in creating a more sustainable and better future.

The Mendota Garden Club has selected Zoe Finley as its queen candidate. She is the daughter of Adam and Carrie Finley. She is five feet, four inches tall and has brown hair and hazel green eyes.

A 2022 graduate of Mendota High School, Finley played tennis and softball for four years. She also participated in Interact Club and was a member of the band for four years. She was a high honor roll student and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Finley is working at the Olive Garden this summer as a waitress, where she is dedicated to providing excellent customer service. When she isn’t working, she will be spending time poolside with her siblings and her dog. Finley also enjoys fishing, reading, yoga, gardening, cooking, traveling, scrapbooking, listening to country music, and learning about economics. In addition, she likes art, going to concerts, exploring new places, and walking her dog.

Finley will be attending Illinois Valley Community College in the fall where she plans to study marketing. While enrolled at IVCC, she will play softball for the Lady Eagles. After two years at IVCC, she plans to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in marketing.

Marisol Felix has been chosen to represent Mendota VFW Post #4079 in this year’s pageant. She is the daughter of Manuel and Martina Felix. Standing five feet, seven inches tall, Felix has dark brown hair and brown eyes.

Felix graduated from Mendota High School in 2022. During her time at MHS, she was a member of the volleyball team for two years and the soccer team for four years. She was a six-semester honor roll student, and she was also awarded the Hispanic Business Ownership Scholarship as well as the Mendota Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship.

This summer, Felix is working at the YMCA in Mendota as a child care program instructor. She will be assisting with the children’s sports programs and providing care for the children enrolled in the programs. In the evenings, Felix likes to work out and paint, both of which she finds very relaxing. She also enjoys cooking with her mom and gardening at home. She finds documentaries about inventions and how they were created to be very intriguing. Felix, who is interested in mental and physical health, considers herself to be very patient and understanding.

In the fall, Felix will be attending Illinois Valley Community College to pursue an associate degree in science. After graduating from IVCC, she intends to transfer to a university to pursue a physical therapy degree. She is committed to helping others to improve their lives in the future.

Olivia Ross has been selected to represent the Mendota Golf Club in the queen pageant. She is the daughter of Kirk and Kathy Ross. Standing five feet, eight inches tall, she has brown hair and blue eyes.

A 2022 graduate of Mendota High School, Ross was a member of the bowling team, the show choir, the Madrigal singers, and the All-State Chorus. She was also active in concert band and jazz band. She fulfilled a leadership role for the marching band, serving as the drum major, and she was a John Becker Memorial Award recipient. Ross is a member of both the National Honor Society, for which she acted as secretary, and the Spanish National Honor Society. In addition, she was a high honor student and an Illinois State Scholar.

This summer you might find Ross making your favorite cup of coffee at Starbucks, where she enjoys interacting with the customers. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, practicing her guitar, and taking her dogs for walks. She also likes to spend time with her family and friends. Her areas of interest include learning about music, wildlife conservation, and mental-health awareness.

Ross plans on attending the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign this fall to seek a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis on developmental and child psychology. Her eventual goal is to earn a doctorate in developmental psychology and to practice as a child psychologist in an urban setting.


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