EVER SINCE Jill Torene was a baby, she has loved animals. Her mother, Laurie, remembers reading to Jill before the little girl could talk.
No matter what the story was about, Jill would search diligently through the pictures until she found an animal.
Other little girls asked for dolls, but Jill wanted a dog, a fish or a hamster. So when she was 11 years old and a friend told her about a 4-H leasing program that would enable her to work with cows at the former Naval Academy Dairy Farm, Jill jumped at the chance.
Several times a week, Jill visited her heifer (a grown cow that has not given birth), helping care for it and showing the animal at county fairs. Along the way, she learned a lot about the workings of a dairy farm.
Three years ago, Jill became a Dairy Maid, representing the dairy industry in a variety of promotional experiences. One of her favorite activities was the "milk toast," saluting people with a glass of what she customarily calls "nature's most perfect food."
In July, the 17-year-old took part in the Maryland Dairy Princess Pageant in Frederick, where young women from around the state vied for the opportunity to represent the dairy industry. After days of skits, public speaking and interviews with pageant judges, Jill was chosen as this year's Maryland Dairy Princess, the first Anne Arundel County resident to win that honor.
She has been busy attending county fairs, the state fair, conventions and other events, giving speeches, milk toasts, handing out awards and - at some - showing her animals. This year, she has been showing a cow and a pig.
She has been an active member of the county Dairy Bowl team and has been named to the state Dairy Bowl team, which takes part in national competitions.
Jill has served as an officer of the Maryland State Junior Holstein Association and the Maryland State Junior Guernsey Association. Last year, she earned a spot on Maryland's state dairy judging team. At the national dairy judging competition, her team won second place and Jill won second place in the individual category.
Next week, Jill will represent Maryland dairy judging at the All-American Dairy Show in Pennsylvania. Then she will travel to Madison, Wis., for the World Dairy Expo.
Besides being Dairy Princess, Jill also leads the busy life of a teen-ager. A senior at Arundel High School, she has been class treasurer and student government senator. She is taking honors courses and looks forward to studying dairy science or agricultural business and communications at college next fall.
What she likes best about being Dairy Princess, Jill said, is meeting people, speaking in public, giving milk toasts and talking with little children. Sometimes, a toddler will ask whether Jill is a real princess.
I'd say she is.
Seton's 25th anniversary
Auxiliary Bishop William C. Newman will be principal celebrant of an anniversary Mass at 5 p.m. Saturday, beginning the 25th anniversary celebration of the founding of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Crofton.
The combined parish choirs will lead in singing the Celebration Mass in D Major, commissioned for the event. A reception will be held afterward in the Parish Center.
On Sunday, doughnuts and coffee will be served in the Parish Center after each Mass. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., a parish picnic will be held on the church grounds.
Picnic tickets will be available through the parish office through tomorrow at $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 5 to 11, and free for those who are younger.
Information: the office at 410-721-5770 or Mary Petrosky, 410-721-9317.
Campaign for new school
Supporters of building a high school in West County are being encouraged to attend tomorrow night's school board hearing on the superintendent's proposed capital budget and long-term construction plans.
The proposed spending plan includes money for planning the new school in 2003. The 13th High School Now Committee wants planning funds to be moved forward a year, to 2002, saying that crowding in West County schools is serious enough that another high school will be needed well before 2007, the year now proposed.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Board of Education headquarters on Riva Road in Annapolis. The committee suggests wearing purple as a show of support for the new school. Information: 301-858-1219.