It will be a busy year for Mahala Miller, of Nappanee. She will be heading across the state all summer long, going to festivals from Steuben to Posey and everything in between. She will be waving and riding in convertibles right up through mid-September. Mahala was recently crowned the 2013 Miss Indiana State Festival Queen.
Before the festival crown, she was named the Nappanee 2012 Apple Festival Queen. That title put her in the running for the other crown.
Mahala is the daughter of Gerald and Wanda Miller. She is a sophomore at Bethel College with a double major in English writing and the humanities. She graduated from Northwood in 2011.
She said she had never been in any pageants before the Apple Festival event. She found the opportunity online and the scholarship money was appealing. Then she won.
At the state contest, she had never had an onstage question before. That was a bit frightening, she said. “It was stressful.” The question that was posed to her was about why she wanted to be the festival queen. And she was able to roll with the punch.
Mahala said she was concerned about the amount of time. After talking with former queens, she knows she will be “kind of crazy” but have lots of fun. And it is only one summer, so she’ll have a great time with it. Besides that, she is going to get a lot of new clothes.
After she graduates, she hopes to find gainful employment in writing, editing or teaching.
Ethan Chu, 16, is an innovator. He has a trophy and a $1,000 check to prove it. Ethan, who lives in South Bend, received the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award for his conceptual design of a circular-shaped medical evacuation helicopter.
Ethan and his dad, William Chu, received a tour of the Stratford, Conn., headquarters for Sikorsky, which builds Black Hawk and Seahawk military helicopters.
Sikorsky’s national contest challenges youths ages 9-16 to envision an environmentally friendly helicopter.
Ethan’s entry was a compact circular-shaped twin-engine helicopter called the AH-9 Diamondback. It has lightweight carbon nanotubes are covered with titanium panels. It also reduced the carbon footprint by channeling engine exhaust along the rotor blade and around the body to provide a cushion of gas for additional lift. The lift principle is known as Coanda Effect.
Sikorsky was impressed.
He is an 11th-grader, who loves to play football and paintball. He is a member of the Eta Sigma Alpha National Home School Honor Society. And, surprisingly, he wants to be an aerospace engineer.
Kathy Turco, a registered nurse with IU Health Goshen, recently received the 2012 President’s Values Leadership Award from Indiana University Health. Kathy was one of 71 nurses nominated from the 18-hospital system.
She was honored for her dedication to the mission and values in her daily work, professional life and community contributions. Kathy has been a nurse for 29 years. She has been active with teaching Sunday school, a high school youth group and Catholic HEART Workcamp. The work camp puts teens in areas where they can do the most good during the summer – helping others.
Kathy received $3,000 to further her development as a values leader. She said the money will go to the work camp project.