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Sauk Rapids royalty crowned
Community welcomes Bukowski, Walz, Weinand
By: Natasha Barber 
   SAUK RAPIDS — After more than four weeks of preparation and a day filled with suspense, three young women were crowned the Sauk Rapids Community Ambassadors June 21. Jenna Bukowski, Anna Walz and Morgan Weinand will reign for the next 12 months, representing the community as good-will ambassadors in parades and at events across the state. 
   “I’m so happy; I’ve wanted to be an ambassador for so long,” said Bukowski, whose two older sisters are former Sauk Rapids Community Ambassadors. “Growing up, seeing the pageant … literally my dreams have come true.”
   Bukowski, the daughter of Michael and Julie Bukowski, will be entering her senior year at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School alongside fellow classmate and ambassador Weinand, daughter or Mike and Heidi Weinand. Walz, daughter of Brian and Tara Walz, will be a junior this fall. Walz said she doubted herself in the final moments on stage, so when a crown was placed on her head, she was in disbelief. 
    “I was so surprised,” Walz said. “I’m so excited. It’s so surreal.” 

    Weinand agreed.
    “I am so shocked,” said Weinand, who also won Miss Congeniality and the Evening Gown Award. 
   The three were selected from a group of seven total candidates which included Makayla Anderson, daughter of Richard and Tina Anderson; Jaimee Kath, daughter of Julee and Kevin Kopka; Carley Schultz, daughter of Shaun and Katie Morrow; and Rilie Sularz, daughter of Tom and Lisa Anderson.
   The coronations, which took place at the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, came at the culmination of the Sauk Rapids Community Ambassador Pageant – a competition where candidates are judged and scored on essays, interviews, community involvement, and presentation and poise. 
   Brooklyn Harren, the 2017-18 ambassador, took the stage as a reigning ambassador one final time before bidding farewell and offering the incoming royalty a token of advice. 
   “Don’t take anything for granted throughout your year,” Harren said. “And don’t ever lose your way when the going gets tough. Take this opportunity and run with it. Make it yours. Set high goals for yourself. Dream your wildest dreams and go fulfill them … Have fun and most importantly follow the royal rule and always smile.” 
   Harren was awarded the queen’s charm and an invitation to Aquatennial Ambassador Candidate Program Week where she will compete for the titles of Queen of the Lakes or ambassador this July. Denise Corrigan was awarded an Honorary Commodore Award from Aquatennial representatives – Captain Kenny Devine and Princess ReAnn Eidahl – for her commitment to the Sauk Rapids ambassador program since 2007. 
   When the final tiara and sash were distributed, a year of service commenced. Bukowski, Walz and Weinand wasted no time meeting their visiting sparkle sisters from neighboring communities and taking photos with friends, family and youth.

photo by Natasha Barber

Anna Walz (from left), Jenna Bukowski and Morgan Weinand are the 2018-19 Sauk Rapids Community Ambassadors. The three were crowned at the pageant June 22 in Sauk Rapids.