Miss Crookston 2021 contestants announced

Times Report
Crookston Times

And your Miss Crookston 2021 contestants are... Aleah Bienek, Ellie Nesseth, Clara Meyer, Claire Oman, Emma Osborn, and Hayden Winjum. They'll be competing for the crown on Friday, August 20 at Crookston High School during the Ox Cart Days summer festival of events. Tickets for the pageant go on sale August 18 from 5-7 p.m. at the high school and are $10 each.

Here are their bios:

Aleah Bienek

Parents’ names: Dacian and JeanAnn Bienek

Sponsored by: Dee Inc.

Talent: Inspirational Hockey Monologue

Favorite high school class and why: My favorite class is English because I enjoy the teachers I’ve had that inspired me to write and express myself.

Hobbies and interests: Hockey, Soccer, Softball, Exercise and Fitness, Cycling, weightlifting, Yoga, Board games, and Writing.

Activities participated in during high school: I’m currently in Soccer, Hockey, and Softball. I’ve also done a season of golf and two seasons of track and field. I’m also on the Student Council.

Choose one life activity (organization, team, club, class) and tell what you have gained or learned from it: Hockey isn’t just a sport to me it has been a lifestyle I enjoy putting my hard work and time into every day. Especially the Girls Crookston Pirate Hockey Program. This team and program have shaped me into the person I am today. With hockey being such a fast, high intense game and growing every day I have learned how much I can push myself to become better. I have learned to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. That it is okay to make mistakes, to fall down, as long as you get up to try again. It has taught me to be my own version of a leader that all players can look up to. That believes and encourages every teammate on the ice. Hockey has taught me many life lessons that I am so grateful for.

Have you had any professional experience, or held full or part-time jobs during vacations or after school hours? If so, what were they? I am working this summer at Club Kid as a leader. I am also a T-Ball coach this summer as well.

Most looking forward to in your upcoming year: I am looking forward to a couple of things: For my classes for this year, I am especially looking forward to taking Fundamentals of Nutrition through UMC. I am also excited about my High School sports starting back up again.

College plans: I am looking into colleges. I am undecided at the moment. For my major I am going to go for Exercise Science. I selected that major because I am passionate about proper exercise and the human body.

Why did you decide to run for Miss Crookston? I wanted to have this experience my senior year and get to have fun with the rest of the ladies.

Why do you want to be the next Miss Crookston? I want to promote my health and fitness community by giving back to the community and hosting yoga sessions outdoors and helping the community grow health and strong.

Claire Oman

Parents: Andy and Lynnea Oman

Sponsor: Andy Oman State Farm Insurance

Platform: Water Safety

I believe that water safety is a very important topic that is often overlooked. According to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% for 1–4-year-olds who take formal swim lessons. As a swim instructor I strive to teach children how to swim to the best of their abilities. And I hope to spread awareness of this topic to more people.

What type of talent will you present? Why have you chosen this talent? Balloon art, because no one has done it before, and I think it is fun to do.

What is your favorite high school class and why? Landscaping because you get to create things and go outside.

What are your hobbies and interests? Swimming, going outside.

What activities have you participated in during high school? Swimming, track

Choose one life activity (organization, team, club, class) and tell what you have gained or learned from it? Swimming, I have gained leadership skills and getting to have the most amazing team be a part of my life.

Have you had any professional experience, or held full or part-time jobs during vacations or after school hours? If so, what were they? Lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons at the pool.

Most looking forward to in your upcoming year? To have the best last year ever!

What are your college plans? If attending college, what are you thinking of for your major? What did you select that major? I am still looking at colleges, and I am thinking of business.

Why did you decide to run for Miss Crookston? I wanted to step out of my box and have this experience.

Why should you be the next Miss Crookston? I am excited to represent what I care about (water safety) and take on a bigger role in the community.

Clara Meyer

Parents’ names: Judith and David Meyer

Sponsor: George W. Meyer Inc.

What type of talent will you present? Why have you chosen this talent? I am doing a comedy baking demonstration. When I was brainstorming what my talent was, I just kept thinking of my love for baking. While I understand that I cannot bake a dozen cookies within 90 seconds, I figured I could make a fun skit about the preparation.

What is your favorite high school class and why? My favorite high school class has always been history. I like to think of myself as a little bit of a history buff with a special interest in World War II, compliments of my dad’s interest. Our family is very passionate about learning about the past, so the History Channel is always on at home and my whole family gets sucked in. My history teachers have also been super helpful to me by always challenging me to memorize all that I can and prove to them all of my knowledge.

What are your hobbies and interests? My hobbies include baking, coloring, and painting, which I haven’t done all that much this summer due to my busy schedule of playing on a traveling summer soccer team and spending time with friends and family.

What activities have you participated in during high school or college? I participate in soccer and Leo Club, I am the president of the North Star 4-H Club and a member of the Student Council, National Honors Society, and my church’s youth group. In the past couple of years, I have participated in figure skating, hockey, track, and have managed girls’ hockey and softball and was in the high school band.

Choose one life activity (organization, team, club, class) and tell what you have gained or learned from it? 4-H has definitely had a huge impact on my life. When I was younger, I was very shy and introverted. Through 4-H I was able to come out of my shell and talk to anyone and everyone. I believe 4-H is the reason I am even brave enough to do this pageant. As I got older, I was able to learn how to be a good leader. I had the opportunity to attend many leadership camps and had the role as club president and lead our club through meetings.

Have you had any professional experience, or held full or part-time jobs during vacations or after school hours? If so, what were they? I have worked at Strander Abstract Guaranty and Title as an administrative assistant for the past year and a half. This summer I worked for the Crookston Park & Rec as a Club Kid Leader. I also babysit for a family a couple weeks during the summer as well as some days during the school year.

Most looking forward to in your upcoming year? I am most looking forward to finishing out school with my best friends and living life to the fullest. I would like to make the most out of everyday especially following the difficulties that arrived in the past two years.

What are your college plans? If attending college, what are you thinking of for your major? What did you select that major? I am trying to decide between the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I am thinking about majoring in Chemistry or Pre-Med and either being a Pharmacist or a Dermatologist. I have always wanted to be some sort of doctor and while attending a STEM camp in 7th grade I discovered my interest in pharmacy but that got put on the back burner and replaced with dermatology until this year when I took chemistry in high school and absolutely loved it.

Why did you decide to run for Miss Crookston? I have helped with the pageant for the few years, and it seemed like a fun life experience.

Why should you be the next Miss Crookston? I want to spread more information about my platform-Mental Health Awareness and Acceptance, I love my community and want to represent it.

Ellie Nesseth

Parents’ names: Ben and Brandi Nesseth

Sponsor: Crookston Building Center

What type of talent will you present? Why have you chosen this talent? Speed Painting! I have chosen this talent because I feel as though it would be very fun, and I had inspiration when my mom found an amazing video of a speed painting. I feel like my picture could represent something important to me.

What is your favorite high school class and why? My favorite class would be U.S. History because I love to learn about the past especially when it’s about our country. I feel like this is an important class for all U.S. citizens to learn about our country's past and what we all went through.

What are your hobbies and interests? Organizing, traveling, babysitting, going to the lake, basketball, pintresting, loving on my dogs, and being with friends!

What activities have you participated in during high school? Volleyball, Basketball, Golf, Track Manager, and Leo club.

Choose one life activity (organization, team, club, class) and tell what you have gained or learned from it? Being in the girls’ basketball program has taught me so much. I have learned how to be a teammate, how to work hard, and has built me to become a better person. The girls’ basketball team is like no other team. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to be a part of that team and we and I personally have learned a lot from our coach. (Coach Z).

Have you had any professional experience, or held full or part-time jobs during vacations or after school hours? If so, what were they? Yes, working as a waitress at RBJ’s.

What is your ambition for the future? I would love to go to college and major in something I love and from there get a great job and start a family.

Most looking forward to in your upcoming year? Representing Crookston and getting to travel to parades!

What are your college plans? If attending college, what are you thinking of for your major? What did you select that major? I plan to attend college and maybe major in business or hospitality.

What book are you currently reading? I am currently reading a Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

Why did you decide to run for Miss Crookston? I want to experience the fun and create memories with my peers.

Why should you be the next Miss Crookston? I love interacting with people, especially youth and feel I can be a good role model.

Emma Osborn

Parents’ names: Doug and Jessica Osborn

Sponsor: RBJ’s Restaurant

What type of talent will you present? Why have you chosen this talent? Possibly unicycling, but for sure doing talents incorporating the sports I play. I chose this as a talent because you don’t see many people unicycling, and I thought I could show some fun talents out of the sports I play.

What is your favorite high school class and why? My favorite high school classes have been math. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out new problems and have always been fortunate enough to have amazing and supportive teachers.

What are your hobbies and interests? I love to play tennis and basketball and am happy that the Crookston High School and our community supports both sports. You can shoot a basketball at almost any local park; our gyms are well kept, and our tennis courts have all been resurfaced and are open for groups to gather and play. This summer, I also had the opportunity to coach tennis for Park and Rec. and I have found coaching a new passion of mine. It is fun to see the spark in the younger kids, when they go from getting to know something, to truly learning to love it. Besides sports, I am an animal lover and enjoy spending time with my family.

What activities have you participated in during high school? While in high school, I have consistently participated in basketball and tennis. This year marks my 8th year playing the viola in orchestra as well. I played a season of both softball and track and field and have enjoyed volunteering my time volunteering at the Humane Society and working on different levels with food boxes.

Choose one life activity (organization, team, club, class) and tell what you have gained or learned from it? I began playing basketball, with our local CYBA program, at a very young age. A few years into it, I was hit in the face with a basketball, completed the season, but didn’t want to return the following year. Fortunately, a random conversation started with a stranger, who I now know as Brandi Nesseth happened. She asked me some basic information and whether I wanted to play basketball, not knowing what had happened in the previous year. I knew all my friends were still in it and decided to take her up on her offer to join again. Afterall, all my friends were still in it, and she was open to coaching me. I faced my fear of being hurt again, joined and have been playing ever since. Basketball has taught me how to work on my individual strengths and weaknesses, how to be a team player, but most importantly, to never run away from things, I fear. Instead, I stand up to things and prove to myself that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

Have you had any professional experience, or held full or part-time jobs during vacations or after school hours? If so, what were they? I have been working at RBJ’s for 1 year as a server and had the opportunity this summer to coach all the Park and Rec tennis courses.

Most looking forward to in your upcoming year? In my upcoming year, I am looking forward to going back to normal for school. Although I adjusted to online, the best memories are made in person. I am hoping to see faces again, specifically smiles. Of course, graduation will also be an exciting time, with it opening up new doors of my life.

What are your college plans? If attending college, what are you thinking of for your major? What did you select that major? I am planning on attending college and am slowing narrowing it down. My major will be Pre-Veterinary Science, which will get me one step closer to Veterinary school. This job has been a dream of mine since I was very young.

Why did you decide to run for Miss Crookston? My Mom thought it would be a great opportunity for me and I had a few friends were going to be in so why not!

Why should you be the next Miss Crookston? My platform is about different types of disabilities, I want to help educate our community about treating others the way you want to be treated.

Hayden Winjum

Parents’ names: Chris and Leah Winjum

Sponsor: Crookston Eye Clinic

What type of talent will you present? Why have you chosen this talent? I am singing and playing the cajon (box drum). I have chosen this talent because I have loved to sing ever since I was young and I’ve always enjoyed making up rhythms to compliment songs. I chose the cajon because it is a fun instrument to let loose on. The song that I am singing is called “Look Up Child” by Lauren Daigle. I chose this song because it is pertinent to what is going on in the world right now. It is an encouraging and hopeful song that has a groovy feel to it! 

What is your favorite high school class and why? Math is my favorite class because I enjoy taking a problem and strategically figuring out the solution. I almost see it as a game. I like that in math there is always a concrete answer. Often in math we get to work in groups and I really enjoy working with others as a team to accomplish things. I have also been fortunate to have several encouraging math teachers throughout my high school career. 

What are your hobbies and interests? Some of my hobbies include staying fit and active through running, roller blading, practicing sports and doing workout videos. I also enjoy using my creativity by drawing, making cards for people, or creating random artwork. I enjoy the outdoors by being at the lake or simply spending time in nature. I’ve always been interested in animals; I especially love spending time with my two dogs. And of course, whenever I have the chance I like to spend time with my family and friends. 

What activities have you participated in during high school or college? I am a 3 sport athlete at the high school level; I play basketball, tennis and run track. I also play percussion in the band at the high school and I’m being trained as the drum major for this year in marching band. I am also a part of Student Council and Leo Club at the high school. As I stated earlier I am involved at Trinity church doing things such as youth group, music and worship leader, Sunday school teacher, and youth board co-chair. 

Choose one life activity (organization, team, club, class) and tell what you have gained or learned from it? I have played basketball since I was in Kindergarten. My involvement in basketball has had a major impact on who I am today. I have had many inspiring and wise coaches along with supportive teammates who have helped me develop both as an athlete and a person. Some of the most important lessons that basketball has taught me is the importance of teamwork and communication. I have also gained many character traits including leadership, confidence, belief in my abilities, positivity and a strong work ethic. I have seen these qualities present on and off the court. 

Have you had any professional experience, or held full or part-time jobs during vacations or after school hours? If so, what were they? Yes, I have worked as a waitress at RBJ’s in Crookston for over 2 years.

What has been your most challenging project and why? In my college English class this year we had to write a 2,000-2,500 word research paper on a current issue affecting poverty in a specific country of our choice. After our paper was written we were required to set aside half of a day to zoom into the Minnesota Youth Institute World Food Prize ran through the U of M. In that zoom we split into round table discussions and had to present our research to experts in the field along with a handful of students around MN who researched a similar topic. This was incredibly challenging to me because I had to do lots of research to understand my country and after retaining that information I had to present to strangers over zoom.

Most looking forward to in your upcoming year? I am looking forward to school activities such as dances, homecoming activities and student sections at sporting events- all things we missed out on last year because of COVID. I am also looking forward to the Florida music trip at the end of the school year! 

What are your college plans? If attending college, what are you thinking of for your major? Why did you select that major? I plan on attending a 4-year college. I find happiness in working with and helping others so I plan on majoring in something that requires a lot of interaction with people, possibly social services. 

Why did you decide to run for Miss Crookston? I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and grow closer with these girls and make some sweet memories.

Why should you be the next Miss Crookston? I want to represent the community and help our youth discover all the opportunities in Crookston!

Miss Crookston 2021 contestants Emma Osborn, Clara Meyer, Aleah Bienek, Claire Oman, Hayden Winjum and Ellie Nesseth