Cranbrook marked its 52th Sam Steele Sweetheart pageant in style on Friday, June 16, at the Key City Theatre.
The pageant, which helps kick off Sam Steele Days, chooses and introduces to Cranbrook the Sam Steele Sweetheart and Princess, who will represent Cranbrook as Youth Ambassadors for the next year.
Friday night’s pageant, hosted by Christy Pick and Jason Wheeldon, opened with a dance performance by the seven candidates celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary, to a medley of Canadian music over past decades.
A special tribute was then paid to Sophie Pierre — Order of Canada recipient, former Chief of the ?A’q’am Band and Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commissioner — who was Cranbrook’s second Sam Steele Sweetheart in 1967.
Wheeldon and Pick introduced the selection panel: Danielle Cordozo, Elizabeth Ross, Raylene Manjak, Judge Chair Erin Aasland Hall, and auditor Rob Norum, who was retiring after 30 years of tabulating pageant results.
Wheeldon noted that by Friday evening, 60 per cent of each candidates mark had already been decided, based on a 15-minute private interview with the selection panel, each candidate’s knowledge of the community, and an afternoon tea to see how everyone interacts with each other.
The seven Sweetheart candidates were introduced, and spoke a few words in recognition of the sponsor group: Abbey McWhirter (Sunrise Rotary), Jasmine Beaulac (Cristoforo Colombo Lodge), Meaghan Merz (Lions Club of Cranbrook), Baylea Phillips (Kin Club of Cranbrook), Reece Lamond (Cranbrook Rotary Club), Kaori Fletcher (B104 & The Drive) and Madilynn Crozier (Fraternal Order of Eagles
The speech and talent segment followed:
Jasmine Beaulac’s “Evil Mr. Curb” was about her first adventures with her driver’s license. Her talent was a video she produced on travels across B.C.
Baylea Phillip’s “Discovering Love” discussed the importance of developing self-esteem. In the talent portion she showcased some of her paintings which revealed different aspects of herself.
Madilynn Crozier’s “Great Adventure” was a bit of time travelling with Sam Steele himself. Her talent was a musical theatre performance.
Kaori Fletcher’s speech was titled “You’re So Pretty,” about the need for young women to empower themselves beyond just surface appearances. Fletcher performed a tap dance routine in the talent portion.
Reece Lamond’s speech was about the power of Optimism, and her talent was a modern dance routine.
Meaghan Merz’s “Great Coffee Crisis” matched up Starbucks against Tim Horton’s. She performed a comic monologue in the talent portion.
And Abbey McWhirter’s “A Little On The Slow Side” held forth on how being in a crowd of pedestrians of varying speeds can affect one’s temper. McWhirter performed an historic dramatic monologue in the talent portion.
After each candidate modelled her Sam Steele gown, Jason Wheeldon asked each the same impromptu question: What in each candidate’s opinion was the most significant lifestyle change over Canada’s last 150 years.
After intermission, the visiting royalty, in town for Sam Steele Days, was introduced. 2014/15 Princess and Sweetheart Brianna McWhirter and Jelena Jensen gave a farewell speech, and then awards were presented. Jasmine Beaulac was presented with People’s Choice Award; Madilynn Crozier was presented with Toastmaster Public Speaking Award (by Kathy Simon) and the Community Awareness Award also went to Jasmine Beaulac. Meaghan Merz was presented with the Talent Award.
Then, the highlight of the night: Jasmine Beaulac was named Princess of Sam Steele and received the crown from outgoing Princess Brianna McWhirter. Abbey McWhirter was named Sam Steele Sweetheart, receiving the crown from Jelena Jensen. The two youth ambassadors will represent Cranbrook over the year ahead.