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Koehler, Vazquez named first Highlander, Lady Scot   ADVERTISEMENT

Koehler, Vazquez named first Highlander, Lady Scot

DUNDEE—The village of Dundee named Jessica Vazquez and Jeff Koehler the first Highlander Scot and Lady Scot during a crowning banquet held at the Dundee American Legion Thursday, June 13.
School board member Kristen VanValkenburg gave the opening remarks during the banquet, saying the idea for the two positions was conceived a year ago during the annual Scottish Festival. She said the crowned Scots would act as a representative of the village during public events and serve as a way to draw more youth participation into the community.
“We thought it would be a really neat idea to pull more of our community into the festival, and maybe we could do that and reach people through having some youth supporting and being a part of that,” VanValkenburg said. “What we want the Highlander Scot and Lady Scot to represent is to become figures for our community to really help reach our Our Town RoCKS goals or our community goals in terms of servicing everyone and being strong and true to our social, physical and economic status.”
VanValkenburg said they had initially invited the director of the Miss Penn Yan pageant to help describe the process. She said while it was daunting at first, but they were able to put together the competition in four months, when it should have taken a year. VanValkenburg said there has been tremendous support from the community in helping to put the competition together.
She said there was an application process where potential candidates described their activities, community involvement and commitment to the position. VanValkenburg said a committee screened the applications and selected potential candidates to describe the responsibilities of the position and help match them to a sponsoring organization.
Vazquez is a current senior at Dundee who is sponsored by the Dundee Youth Center. She said she is involved in “everything she possibly can,” which includes theater, masterminds, marching band and winter percussion. Vazquez said her family moved to Dundee three years ago and she loves the close-knit atmosphere of the village.
“I wasn’t fortunate enough like the rest of you to have grown up in Dundee,” Vazquez said. “It was very comforting to come to Dundee and just be embraced by everybody. Dundee is one big happy family and I love it.”
Koehler is a member of the Dundee class of 2007, a recent graduate from Corning Community College and is sponsored by the Dundee Rotary Club. He said the reason he applied for the title of Highlander Scot was to try something new and expand his ability as a community member.
“I think this position is a good opportunity for me to get involved with organizations and events in our town, most of which up until now I haven’t been able to participate in,” Koehler said. “Becoming Highlander Scot gives me a chance to support Dundee through service in a new way.” He said he would try his best as Highlander Scot to represent the village values and be a public figure to be proud of.
After being crowned and awarded their tartan sashes, the two were given gift baskets as well as tokens of historical significance like Celtic knot jewelry. The Highlander and Lady Scot will make appearances at all public events, including parades and festivals like the Dundee Scottish Festival, which is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Black Rock Speedway.





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