Kristy DeClark was named Ladysmith’s Ambassador for 2013-14 Saturday, April 20.
Surprised and elated at having been named this year’s Ambassador, a teary-eyed DeClark embraced forerunner Kelly Wallace before they exchanged the crown.
Following the ceremony, DeClark — a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Ladysmith Secondary School and president of the LSS student council — admitted the win took her by surprise.
“I definitely didn’t anticipate it,” DeClark added with a laugh. “Honestly, everyone had a good shot. Everyone was so good. I’m so overwhelmed and it feels amazing to be crowned and I’m so thankful to all the people that got me here.”
DeClark, who was sponsored by the Ladysmith Fraternal Order of Eagles, said she looks forward to getting better acquainted with her Vice-Ambassadors and to promoting Ladysmith as she visits communities throughout the province over the course of the next year.
Kira Mauriks and Sydney Jordan were named Vice-Ambassadors for 2013-14.
Mauriks was both excited and overwhelmed by her win. The 16-year-old — sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ladysmith — looks forward to “meeting people from all over B.C.” and to “getting to know the reigning royalty, Kristy and Sydney.”
Ladysmith’s new band of royals will most likely attend the Cowichan Valley coronation as their first assignment, Mauriks added.
Prior to the announcement of this year’s Ambassadors, winners of the Ladysmith Ambassador Talent Showcase were named.
DeClark placed first in the speech contest and tied for second place in the talent competition with Kat Cunningham and Jordan.
In addition to her talent award, Jordan received second place in both the speech contest and this year’s congeniality award.
Mauriks received top honours in the talent competition.
Seventeen-year-old Marina Hammocks received third prize in the speech contest and one of two personal growth awards alongside fellow candidate Hailey Primrose.
Parting Ambassador Wallace and 2012-13 Vice-Ambassadors Kezia Cloke and Brianne Broadhurst received bursaries valued at $800 and $600 respectively from Ladysmith and District Credit Union CEO John de Leeuw in recognition of their service to the community.
Wallace said the highlights of her ambassadorial year were “travelling around B.C. and meeting all of the fabulous people” and “mentoring the new group of candidates — it’s just so wonderful to see every single one of them grow.”
“I’m so excited for this year’s candidates,” Wallace added. “They all represented their sponsors and Ladysmith really well, and I’m so proud of every single one of them.”
Former Ladysmith Princess Jayse Van Rooyen (2010-11) — who co-hosted the event with 2011-12 Vice-Ambassador Amber Brown — was equally excited for this year’s Ambassadors.
“I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world,” Brown added. “It’ll change their lives.”