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Home > Traditions > National Cherry Queen Program > 2021 National Cherry Queen Candidates

2021 National Cherry Queen Candidates

Rebecca Brown

Rebecca is the 21-year-old daughter of Chris and Dawn Brown of Interlochen. She is a 2017 graduate from Traverse City West Senior High School, a 2018 graduate from Northwestern Michigan College where she received her Associates Degree and a 2020 graduate from Central Michigan University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Integrative Public Relations. Rebecca served as the Panhellenic Delegate for her sorority, Sigma Kappa, as well as being the Director of Development for a student run Public Relations firm at CMU. Rebecca spends her time working at Bonobo Winery, filming her “cooking show” for her Instagram, snuggling her dogs, and having quality time with friends and family. As a long time local she reflects on memories of winning the Cherry Festival big wheel race, singing in Cherry Idol, and sticking her face in cherry pie during the pie eating contest each year. Rebecca also cheered for the Traverse City Allstars for 10 years, earning regional, state and national titles. Rebecca plans to pursue her Masters Degree in Communications in the near future. She is thankful to have had the opportunity to work with one of Traverse City’s oldest centennial farms, Jacobs Farm, for their rebranding during the pandemic this past year. Rebecca completed an internship with TART Trails and was able to see first hand the impact that recreational trails have in the Northern Michigan Region. Rebecca is driven by connection and building relationships throughout the community and is passionate about supporting local businesses. She thrives in environments where she can communicate, collaborate, and inspire.

Rebecca is graciously sponsored by Bonobo Winery.

Kennan Dawson

Kennan is the 20 year old daughter of Doug and Lorri Dawson. She graduated from Bellaire Public High School in 2018 and is a native of the Village of Bellaire. Kennan is currently enrolled at Alma College where she is studying Biology and Chemistry with an emphasis in Pre-Veterinary medicine.

Kennan is actively involved in clubs and activities at Alma College, including being on the varsity cross country and track teams. Through this she has learned much about teamwork, time management, hard work, and dedication. Kennan is also a member of a sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. The sorority focuses on building strong girls and empowering women, which is something Kennan has always thought is important. She currently holds the role of Chapter President of her sorority and hopes to have a positive impact on other women on campus. Kennan is thankful to have been given the opportunity to have been Miss Bellaire 2016, which opened her eyes to how important it is to be a good role model for young girls. Being in such a visible position allowed her to help inspire young women to strive to achieve their goals, as well as represent the community of Bellaire. She also was a Final Four Candidate for National Cherry Queen in 2019, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about both herself and the cherry industry. Kennan spends her summers working at Short’s Brewing Company and shadowing at the Mancelona Veterinary Hospital. She is also currently the vice president of the Alma College Pre-Veterinary Association. While Kennan already enjoys working in a veterinary office, she also has many other passions and hobbies. These include running, spending time with friends and family, volunteering, and being on the lake in the summertime.

Kennan is thankful to be sponsored by Fischer Insurance and Davies’ Acres Bellaire.

Allie Graziano

Allie is the 23 year old daughter of Tom and Angie Graziano. Born and raised in the cherry capital of the world, Allie enjoys spending her free time soaking up everything the Greater Grand Traverse area has to offer whether it be hiking, biking, or stand up paddle boarding. Allie is currently attending Baker College of Cadillac as a senior, pursuing a career in pediatric nursing. By the end of the year she will have her bachelor's degree in nursing, with future plans of becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner.

After visiting many National Parks, Allie's love for the outdoors quickly developed into a passion project. She now has her own platform "Unplug and Connect to Nature" - encouraging youth to trade screen time for green time. Through her platform she has been able to visit schools and teach students about the importance of getting outside and protecting the environment. She has also helped with numerous beach and park cleanups and planted nearly 100 trees on a recent mission trip in Nicaragua.

Over the course of last year, Allie held the title of Miss Michigan for America. Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, she was able to continue to build upon her platform, gain crucial public speaking skills, build community relationships, and share her love for Michigan across the United States. By holding this position, Allie has learned how to juggle work and attend school while still making the most out of being a titleholder.

It is Allie's mission as the next National Cherry Queen to build upon the legacy of the queens that came before her. She plans to not waste a second of her 365 days of service by continuously learning, advocating, and giving back.

Allie has patiently waited for the opportunity to represent her hometown as the next National Cherry Queen after serving as her school's first grade Cherry Princess, proving there is never a time limit on your dreams. She looks forward to the opportunity of using this title as a way to expand her reach and promote the cherry industry, it's farmers, and her hometown.

Allie is graciously sponsored by Dean Farms, LLC

Nicole Wittman

Nicole is a 20-year-old lifetime native of Leelanau County and a 5th generation cherry farmer. She has two incredible parents, one amazing younger brother, and one dog – all of whom she loves endlessly; Chris, Cristal, Michael, and Riley. Nicole loves laughing, telling stories, spending time outside in the sunshine, staying physically active, swimming in bountiful freshwater, and more than anything, spending quality time and going on adventures with friends and family. Nicole attended high school at St. Mary Leelanau, where she established her roots in Christian faith and found her passion for business through a club called Business Professionals of America. It was through this organization that she was able to learn invaluable business skills, practice public speaking, and ultimately, place 3rd in the nation for the Human Resources Management competition. Nicole is currently completing the second semester of her junior year, going into her senior year, at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business where she is majoring in Human Resources Management and minoring in Leadership of Organizations.

Nicole spends her time studying in East Lansing, using her season tickets for Michigan State Football and Basketball (in normal years), and serving on the Executive Board for the Human Resource Association of Michigan State University as the Director of Recruitment and Student Engagement. Some items not able to fit on Nicole’s one-page resume, but that are still very important to her, are her participation in Youth Group at St. John’s Catholic Student Center near campus and her involvement with the Broad Leadership Association. Lastly, Nicole has been volunteering in her free time since the summer of 2020 at the Pregnancy Care Center in Traverse City to assist with administrative support, fundraiser preparation, and donation organization. This volunteer experience has been one of the greatest joys Nicole has ever had the pleasure to take part in and really helped her discover one of her passions: working with pregnant women and promoting the health and wellbeing of women and their babies.

Nicole was blessed to grow up on her family’s cherry farm in Suttons Bay, Michigan (Guinan Farms to be exact). She was on the farm and eager to help from early childhood. At the farm, she learned the importance of work ethic; a quality she prides herself most on today. Along with her family’s cherry farm, Nicole holds two restaurant jobs every summer; working one shift in the morning and another at night. These jobs have taught Nicole so much about her love for working with people, her patience, and her ability to muli-task. By working these jobs, Nicole has been able to fund a fair amount of her college education and keep her loans at bay. For a portion of the summer of 2021, Nicole will be living in the Metro Detroit Area, as she has accepted an internship offer with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as their Talent Acquisition Intern. She will no doubt be home for the week of Cherry Fest, as she wouldn’t miss it for the world!

In the next few years, Nicole plans to establish herself well at her first job and start the process of completing her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Human Resources Management. Driven by her passion for business and working as a business partner to help companies hire the best possible human capital, Nicole hopes to pursue a career in Human Resources that surrounds Talent Acquisition, Recruitment, and Personnel Management.

Nicole is extraordinarily excited and grateful to be sponsored by Cherry Bay Orchards.

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