The City of Albany today announced the five 2010 Tulip Queen finalists.
About 100 nominations were received. Each eligible candidate was interviewed by the Tulip Queen & Court Selection Committee, a panel of judges from the community that includes prior Tulip Queen & Court members.
Based on the interviews, 15 semifinalists were chosen to attend the Tulip Tea. At the Tea, the women were judged based on their interaction with their fellow semifinalists and the committee. After a final interview with each semifinalist, five finalists are chosen.
These women were chosen based on their community service and leadership skills as well as their knowledge of Albany. The Tulip Queen is not announced to the public or the finalists until the coronation at the Tulip Festival on Saturday, May 8 at noon in Washington Park.
“Each year, our Tulip Queen and Court proudly represent the City of Albany. These young women selflessly serve those in need, assisting residents and various organizations throughout our community,” said Mayor Jerry Jennings. “They each possess a great deal of positive energy and volunteer experience, and I look forward to working with them on the Mayor’s Literacy Campaign.”
The finalists are:
Mishka Gilkes, 22, of Albany
Gilkes is a graduate student at Sage Graduate School studying health services administration. She works as a re-entry specialist at the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. Her volunteer experiences include Equinox as a peer mentor, and assisting at Whitney M. Young in Albany. She hopes to ultimately practice law and become a judge.
Ashley Holt, 22, of Albany
Holt is completing her masters at Bay Path College with a degree in occupational therapy. Her volunteer experience includes Ronald McDonald House and the First Israel AME Food Pantry. She hopes to work as an occupational therapist in the Capital District and also build a business for local handcrafters to showcase their work.
Keva Luke, 18, of Albany
Luke is a senior at Albany High School and will be attending Siena College as a pre-med student in the fall. Her volunteer experience ranges from a local day care center, St. Peter's Hospital, tutoring Spanish and math and helping raise money for local booster clubs. She hopes to eventually attend Albany Medical College to become a pediatrician.
Melissa Pelletier, 20, of Colonie
Pelletier is studying early childhood education at Hudson Valley Community College. She works at Teresian House Nursing Home, volunteers at the food bank and participates in breast cancer walks and Relay for Life. She hopes to become a kindergarten teacher.
Gabrielle Rieth, 21, of Ravena
Rieth is a senior at Cornell University studying biological sciences. In high school, she tutored peers, volunteered at St. Peter's Hospital and worked with mentally disabled adults. In college, she organized a fundraising event for Prevent Child Abuse America and has helped with St. Jude's Children's Research Center. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine.
The 62nd annual Albany Tulip Festival will be held May 8 and 9.
For more festival information, visit www.albanyevents.org or click HERE.