October has been one of our quieter months. I’ve had to put aside considerable time to evaluate career paths, future dreams, and priorities as well as reflect on the very many lessons and valuable opportunities I’ve been granted.
Early in the month I had the pleasure of making an address at the CWA (Country Women’s Association) Annual Conference. Moments before I stood up to speak, the Mayor, Greg Conkey, shared a few words of encouragement and valuable insight into the work of CWA. Mr Mayor became most unhelpful when he began to share words of encouragement towards me, bringing me nearly to tears right before my address! Just one of the many examples of what a great man he is to uplift those around him.
Presslea and I were fortunate to meet once more with our Titleholder Coordinator, Sarah Navin aka ‘Queen Bee’, and she gave us some much-needed support and advice as the chapter draws to a close and new adventures lie before us. We attended the 50th Annual Convention of the Lions Club with members far and wide travelling to our beloved city. This was followed by my final Citizenship Ceremony at the Wollundry Lagoon where 40 people became Citizens of Australia followed by Fusion Festivities. These ceremonies have been some of my favourites, and to be at the very last one was quite emotional. We attended our last meeting presentation at Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Murrumbidgee late this month with both of us holding back tears as we shared our experiences of Nördlingen, the Quest and working with each other. Someone pass us some tissues at crowning, we’re going to need them!
In September I ran a Public Speaking Workshop for Wagga Wagga Public School. This month I was asked to return to my former primary school, the very place that taught me the national anthem when I first arrived to Australia, to judge their Public Speaking Competition. I felt like I had come a full circle in the 18 years I’ve embraced living in Australia. I could not have dreamed of a more fitting way to end my Miss Wagga Wagga Quest engagements.
Presslea and I have spent the last few moments soaking up the memories with a relaxing pedicure at Circa 1929, followed by drinks and dinner at the Roundabout Restaurant with the entrants of 2020.
Blessed. That’s the only word adequate enough to express what these last 11 months in the reign have been like. It has been my honour and a privilege to represent the City of Wagga Wagga as young female ambassador for just short of a year.
Thank you to YOU, the people of Wagga Wagga who embraced us as titleholders from the moment we were crowned and welcomed us into a platform and a space so much bigger than us. To everyone who gave us a chance, from the numerous service meetings, Rotary, Probus, Inner Wheel etc. to school engagements, from Mayoral Receptions to city functions. Thank you for believing in us!
To the Mayor and Mayoress, Greg and Jenny, you know exactly what we think of you, and how we feel about you both, but allow us to publicly note that we have such high regard for you as individuals, as a pair, and Greg, in your office as Mayor. At every turn, you both placed your efforts in getting to know us, and to give us as many opportunities to grow as possible. You have left a very familial mark in our hearts and have taught us so much! I cannot thank you enough.
To all the community organisations, the Quest, Quest supporters and sponsors of last year and this, especially Triple M and Hit Fm breakfast radio hosts who supported and encouraged us behind the scenes. To our respective employers and all the Junior Miss Wagga Wagga Program sponsors and supporters especially Epica Jewellers and North Wagga Public School, as well as the parents who placed their trust in me. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.
To my employers, especially my colleagues at Relationships Australia Canberra & Region who made this Quest journey a reality; my family (my biological family in Norway, and my chosen family in Australia) who have listened to me every day for the last 11 months talk about the role, and my friends who have been cheering me at literally EVERY TURN. I cannot thank you enough for holding me up.
Finally, to my Princess, Presslea Cowan. It was almost destined. From the moment I met her at our first Professional Development there was just something about Pres. As the entrant year rolled, and we worked together on our events, her consistency, fight and heart became so clear. As Pres made her crowning acceptance speech with a promise ‘to put the community before myself’ I knew, Wagga had found the perfect titleholder and ambassador. During the titleholder year I have seen her weather storms and fight tough battles, I have seen her eyes light up with overwhelming excitement and joy, and I’ve seen her well up with tears of pride. Through it all, one thing was abundantly clear, she may be a strong physical training instructor, and an honourable soldier, but she is first and foremost a formidable woman, and that has been so inspiring!
Princess Pres, I will never forget that moment I realised you looked on me like a sister, because it was in that moment that I realised that’s exactly what we had become. There I found the reason as to why I felt the pride that I did when your name was called as titleholder; why my heart has ached in your sorrows, and been elated in your joys; why I was honoured to stand by you on Anzac Day, and why I’m blessed to have journeyed this royal year with you.
Who knew I would gain family by joining the Quest?
A blessed ending to a royal chapter.
Miss Wagga Wagga 2019, Stina Constantine
I would firstly like to thank our ongoing supporters of the blog! Thank you for keeping up to date with our busy lives and supporting the Quest continuously throughout the year. We wouldn’t be here without you.
I would like to give one of the biggest thanks to Mayor, Greg Conkey and Mayoress, Jenny Conkey. These two have been (I really can’t think of a word) but absolutely amazing this year. From our first introduction they have felt like family and although we promised a catch up every week of the year and our busy lives took over, it was a privilege to spend so much time at events and of course in Nördlingen with them. So thank you very much for making this year amazing!
To my Queen, Miss Wagga Wagga, I honestly don’t know where to begin. I only have a brother however, I can honestly say I now have a sister. You have been the greatest role model and inspiration to me this year. You have stood in front of hundreds of people and spoken of your fears and dreams. You have worked so hard to create the first ever Junior Miss Wagga Wagga Program which benefited so many people in our community and you’re a queen to so many little girls who will now aspire to be like you. I truly believe everything happens in this life for a reason, I was crowned your princess this year and you have guided and been a friend when I have needed it. I’ll remember our many meetings and catch ups, a date to the movies, running around last minute before events, our trip to Nördlingen and the thousands of memories that came with that. Thank you for standing beside me this year, thank you for having my back and thank you for being you.
So, my October has been super busy, with meetings and talks. My highlight this month was visiting the Turvey Park Girl Guides, where I presented a cheque on behalf of the Community Princess Foundation. What an inspiring and motivating group of girls. I had an absolute blast chatting to the girls and getting to know them. The money given will be used for a variety things over the next few months whilst they are underway with their Christmas preparation, organising events like trivia nights and getting ready for another year ahead where they will go away for camp. Whilst I am about to hand over my crown, don’t forget our new Community Princess will be looking to also give out grants, application forms can be found on the Miss Wagga Wagga website.
Thanks for sharing an amazing year I will never forget, I will always look back to my time as a Princess as the best year of my life, I am so grateful for the Wagga Wagga Community, you have shaped me to be who I am. If you see me down the street please say hello!
Community Princess 2019, Presslea Cowan.