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WEEPING WATER – Sophia Svanda has gained the respect of many people over the years with her exuberant and hard-working personality.

Those qualities helped her land one of the top honors at this year’s Cass County Fair.

Svanda was crowned Miss Cass County during the Cass County Fair Queen Contest Wednesday night. Svanda will begin her reign this week during the remaining days of the Cass County Fair. She will continue to hold the title until the 2019 queen contest.

Eight queen contestants took part in this year’s event at the Open Air Auditorium. Miss Alvo Sierra Umland, Miss Elmwood Danielle Neels, Miss Louisville Olivia Minchow, Miss Murdock Katrina Hansen, Miss Murray Sierra Chase, Miss Plattsmouth Johanna Burke and Miss Weeping Water Faith Adams joined Svanda on stage. Svanda wore the title of Miss Nehawka during the contest.

Svanda was second in order during the speech portion of the evening. She focused her talk on this year’s Cass County Fair theme of “Country Days, American Ways” for the audience. She reflected on the similarities and differences country days have had both in past and current times. She spent many weeks writing and preparing her speech.

Svanda was eighth in order during the fishbowl question part of the contest. All eight candidates had to draw a random question out of a fishbowl and then deliver an answer on the spot. Svanda was asked to describe herself in three adjectives. She chose exuberant, strong-willed and fun-loving as words that reflected her personality and demeanor.

A panel of three judges began deliberating at 8:19 p.m. and returned to the Open Air Auditorium at 8:53 p.m. Svanda beamed when her name was called as the Miss Cass County selection. Friends and family congratulated her both on the stage and in the seating area after the contest was completed.

Svanda is the daughter of Carey and Kelly Svanda and is a 2018 graduate of Conestoga High School. She is planning to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and major in agricultural communications.

Svanda was a National Honor Society member and captured an array of academic awards at Conestoga. She served as president of the Conestoga FFA chapter this past year and was a four-year member of the organization. She collected multiple state and national honors for her work on FFA projects during her high school career.

Svanda was involved in many other extracurricular activities at Conestoga. She was a four-year letter winner in softball, basketball, track and field and dance and helped the Cougars capture many team achievements. The CHS dance squad won two state titles this past school year, and Svanda ran on three medal-winning relays at state track and field meets. She was a member of a state championship softball team as a sophomore and helped the basketball squad win 19 times this past winter.

Svanda has also been involved in many community endeavors. She has taught Sunday School classes at Nehawka United Methodist Church, assisted with church Christmas programs and volunteered at Conestoga Elementary School PTO Carnivals. She has prepared and served meals to elderly citizens in Nehawka, distributed May Day baskets to Nebraska Masonic Home residents and helped children with special needs at the All-Play Miracle League in Omaha.

Svanda will deliver ribbons and trophies to 4-H students at a variety of livestock contests during the county fair. She will also appear in Saturday night’s grand parade at the fairgrounds.

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