RACINE — Nikita Wood was selected as the 2017 Racine Party in the Park Queen on Saturday, as well as being named the first “Hart of Racine” award winner.
The Hart of Racine award is similar to the Miss Congeniality title which is given at most pageants. This year, the Party in the Park Queen committee decided to rename the award in memory of the late Kathryn Hart and her dedication to the event, park, village and community.
As part of the Party in the Park Queen contest, the five finalists are selected at the end of their junior year at Southern High School by their classmates. The finalists are then asked to complete a short questionnaire and go through an interview in front of the judges.
Wood, of Bedford, is the daughter of Mony Wood and Shannon DeWeese. She plans to attend Marshall University to become a sonographer after high school.
“My favorite part of Racine is Southern High School,” said Wood on her questionnaire. “I feel like it is central to the community and brings spirit and happiness during any season.”
Wood’s favorite activities include cheerleading, her job and shopping.
Bailee Floyd of Racine was named the Party in the Park Queen First Runner-up. Floyd is the daughter of Stephanie Holter and Brandon Floyd. Floyd plans to attend the University of Rio Grande to major in early childhood education. “I would like to come back to Southern to teach,” stated Floyd in her questionnaire.
“My favorite part of Racine is the small community. When something bad happens the community comes together to help each other,” wrote Floyd.
Floyd’s favorite activities include basketball, being around family and friends and working.
Other finalists for the Party in the Park Queen were Jolisha Ervin, Lauren Lavender and Sailor Warden, all of Racine.
Ervin is the daughter of Jason and Jodi Ervin. She plans to attend cosmetology school at Artisan School of Cosmetology in Parkersburg. After, she plans to attend an online school to earn her business degree and open her own salon.
“My favorite part of Racine is the way that the community is so tight knit. Everyone cares about everyone and they work together no matter what the situation or circumstance. Everyone is always friendly and willing to lend a helping hand any time of day,” wrote Ervin.
Ervin’s favorite activities include sports, church youth group and National Honor Society.
Lavender is the daughter of Doug and Theresa Lavender. She plans to explore her options in the medical field, visiting colleges throughout her senior year.
“I like how the community comes together and supports each other. I also like the welcoming and the improvements to the village,” wrote Lavender of her favorite part of Racine.
Lavender’s favorite activities include being part of student council, softball and hanging out with family and friends.
Warden is the daughter of Brian and Dolly Warden. She plans to attend West Virginia University to become a nurse practitioner.
“My favorite part of Racine is the park. I enjoy walking the track and the tranquility of the Ohio River view,” wrote Warden.
Warden’s favorite activities include meeting with the youth group at Carmel Sutton Methodist Church, being a cheerleader and traveling with family.
The 2016 Party in the Park Queen Marissa Johnson, who is currently a freshman at Ohio University, was on hand to crown the new royalty on Saturday.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.