Ambassadors set to take the stage at Merritt Secondary School

By on July 21, 2017
Madeline Tremblay of Ladysmith is crowned as one of the three B.C. Ambassadors selected at last year's pageant. (Herald files).


By Saturday evening, a brand new B.C. ambassador team will be crowned in Merritt.

The Ambassadors Program offers British Columbians aged 17 to 23 the chance to earn bursaries for post-secondary education and develop their leadership skills in a community-oriented competition, hosted each summer in Merritt.

The three girls selected as winners will travel throughout the province over the next year, promoting education, motivation and self-esteem.

But before the coronation gets underway, the field of eight candidates will be put to the test; they will deliver a prepared speeches, answer impromptu questions and deliver a formal presentation highlighting their hometowns.

Finally, following awards on Saturday night, last year’s ambassadors will have the honour of crowning this year’s three winners.

The pageant is going ahead this year at a different venue than most years in Merritt, after the opening of the emergency reception centre at the civic centre forced organizers to relocate at the last minute.

B.C. Ambassador co-ordinator Teresa Dares found out on Monday that 150 beds had been set up in the civic centre, which bumped the pageant set for July 21 and 22.

Luckily, another venue presented itself in short order, explained Dares.

“Everything is the same as far as times are concerned, but the location for our pageant for Friday and Saturday night is [Merritt Secondary School] in the multi-purpose room,” said Dares.

The pageant itself wasn’t the only part of the program affected by the ongoing wildfire situation. One of this year’s contestants hails from Princeton, and lives only a short distance from where a wildfire is currently burning explained Dares.

“Another girl is from Quesnel, and she’s going to have to take the long way around to get to Merritt. So yeah — it’s going to be an interesting weekend for everybody concerned,” said the pageant co-ordinator.

While the thought of cancelling the pageant altogether was considered, Dares said she hoped that the event would provide a lift for those who have been affected by the crisis.

“We have to look at the bigger picture. This isn’t as important as people losing their homes, but we’re trying to keep some normalcy going here, and these candidates have worked so hard for this weekend,” she said. “The last thing I wanted to was cancel it for this weekend, but I would have — that was something we were trying really hard not to do.”

Along with Hanna Gould (representing Princeton), and Mierie Sabbarwal (representing Quesnel), six other young women are candidates to be a part of this year’s ambassador team.

Melissa Curatolo (Kelowna), Madeline Dudley (White Rock), Karly Flannigan (Kamloops), Megan Johnston (Chase), Krista Spivey (Nanaimo) and Hannah Vaz (Vernon) represent the rest of the field.

Events are set to begin at 6:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow

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