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Granddaughters shine at Seven Oaks Travel Park

(ran PT, HT editions)

Residents of Seven Oaks Travel Park are proud of their grandchildren and wanted a way to showcase their accomplishments.

"In today's world, we hear about the bad things children do," Agnes Zelinski said. "We wanted others to know about the good children and what they accomplish."

Mrs. Zelinski and her husband, Eddie, coordinated the recent Miss Seven Oaks Contest as a way to highlight the good deeds of granddaughters of residents at the park.

"At the same time," she said, "we also wanted to give back to the community.

"It was decided to charge an entry fee of $1 for each contestant in the Miss Seven Oaks Contest, with half of the proceeds going to the Missing Children's Foundation."

In all there were 121 entries representing granddaughters from throughout the United States and abroad. The categories were divided into two age groups: 2 to 12 and 13 to 21. The girls mailed their grandparents their biographies. Judging was based on that information. Crowns, sashes, bouquets, cash and certificates were awarded to the winners.

Several children were also honored individually, including Beverly Martin, 19, who does helicopter repairs for the U.S. Army. She is the granddaughter of Heidi Holland.

Other granddaughters do volunteer work in hospitals and with the handicapped and for organizations that work overseas.

Jennifer Little, 10, of Redford, Mich., an A student, received a certificate of achievement from the Governor of Michigan. She is the granddaughter of Bobbie and Ed Barnes.

Also cited was Deanna Tyson, 14, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who overcame a learning disability so she could join the school marching band in Shalor Township, Pa. She is the granddaughter of Jim and Grace Tyson.

Airelle Swartz, 14, of Texas, who has been dancing since she was 2, now tours with a dance troupe. She is the granddaughter of Jane and Dan Baker.

The judges selected Erika Guaranizo, 8, of Aurora, Ill., granddaughter of Shirley Martinek, as the winner in the 2 to 12 category. The selection was based on personality and academic excellence. She is in an advanced class at school and is a member of the school soccer team. She received a cash award of $25.

Catelyn Buskey, 13, of Springfield, Mass., won the 13 to 21 category and received $50. She is the granddaughter of Robert Spencer. She won for academics, sports and volunteering.

Committee leaders included Ida Parpart, Helen McLaury, Marian Krall, Louise Kipley, Yoyo Charron, and Ray and Jaki Bigras. Louise Jirinec made 90 sashes for the girls.

Mrs. Zelinski said she had no idea that the contest would take off the way it did.

"We could never have made it so successful without the support of the community and local merchants," she said. Plans are underway for an even more comprehensive contest next year.

"It just proves," she said, "that children of today can make a positive difference in this world."

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