Miss Central Mountain Jolee McCluskey

Laurel Festival activities this weekend

WELLSBORO — The 77th annual Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival celebration gets into full swing this weekend.

The Wellsboro community invites the public to join in the family-friendly event which includes the Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen competition. The candidates from 27 high schools include young women from Bucktail Area, Central Mountain and Jersey Shore high schools and St. John Neumann Regional Academy.

The candidates have a full weekend of activities. At noon Friday, they will gather on the Tioga County Courthouse steps for the official welcome, then have a picnic lunch and tour of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. At 5 p.m., on the Deane Center’s outdoor stage, they will be introduced to the public during the free Queen’s Preview and Concert with Gabe Stillman and the Billtown Giants of Williamsport performing electric blues and R&B tunes. Bring lawn chairs.

The annual juried arts and crafts fair will be open Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. More than 90 artisans — 21 of them new — will be on The Green with unique, handcrafted items. The International Street of Foods with 27 vendors on Pearl Street along The Green will offer delectable delights, from strawberry shortcake to crepes and Greek gyros, during the fair.

Miss Bucktail Maria D’Onofrio

Saturday’s events will start with the Laurel Festival 10K at 9 a.m. and Two-Mile Fun Run at 9:05. Both will begin at Packer Park on Queen Street. Packet pick-up and registration for both the 10K and Fun Run will be from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. on race day. The 10K entry fee is $25 and the Fun Run fee is $5.

The Laurel Parade on Saturday will feature top-notch drum and bugle corps, bagpipers, string bands, high school marching bands, vintage cars and more. Riding aboard floats themed “It’s Magical” will be the reigning Pennsylvania Laurel Queen Abbey Carleton and the Laurel Queen candidates. The parade will leave the Wellsboro Area High School parking lot at 1:45 p.m. and reach Main Street by 2 p.m. The units will perform in front of the judges’ stand near the courthouse and then turn onto King and Walnut streets and disband at Central Avenue.

Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m., the coronation of the 2018 Pennsylvania State Laurel Queen will take place on stage at the Deane Center’s Coolidge Theatre. Tickets are available at the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce, 114 Main St. Admission is $10 at the door.

For more information about Laurel Festival activities, call the chamber at 570-724-1926, email info@wellsboropa.com or visit www.wellsboropa.com.


Miss St. John Neumann Cheyenne Danneker


Miss Bucktail Maria D’Onofrio, daughter of Connie and Ray Werts of Renovo, was salutatorian for the class of 2018.

She has been a member of her school’s varsity basketball and softball teams and the Environmental Club all four years of high school. For three years, she was a member of the Rotary Interact Club and the Bucktail Chapter of the National Honor Society, serving as president as a senior. She was a student council member for three years and has served as class president and secretary. In addition, she was vice president of the Yearbook Club, participated in a youth leadership program, and was a School Wide Positive Behavior Club member.

Last summer, she worked with the Student Conservation Association to maintain and clear trails in state parks and build foot bridges and information stations.

This fall, she will major in accounting at Lock Haven University.

Miss Jersey Shore Averie Hess


Miss Central Mountain Jolee McCluskey, daughter of Wendy and Joseph McCluskey of Gallagher Township, is a member of Holy Spirit Parish and its youth group.

During all four years of high school, she has been on the high honor roll, president of the School-Wide Positive Behavior program, a member of student government, and a member of Clinton County Teen Court. She also has been STEM Club secretary, a member of Student Athlete Leadership, and student representative to the Croda, Inc. Community Advisory Council

She lettered all four years of high school on the girls varsity tennis team, playing singles and serving as team captain for three years. She was named to the Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conference’s 2015 singles all-star second team and the 2016 singles all-star first team.

She competed in the Pennsylvania Statewide High School Mock Trial and Bloomsburg University Math competitions for three years, in the Lock Haven University Math Competition for two years, and in the Math Kangaroo Competition one year.

President of the school’s National Honor Society, she also was a member of the French Honor Society.

In 2016, she was selected for and graduated from the Lehigh University Summer Engineering Institute.

This fall, she will major in Information Technology and minor in Web Science with a concentration in Information Security at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Her career goal is to attain a position in a government agency in the field of cyber security.


Miss Jersey Shore Averie Hess, daughter of Patty and Eric Hess of Pine Creek Township, was on the distinguished honor roll all four years of high school.

Also throughout high school, she held FBLA offices, including president. She placed eighth at FBLA state competition in publication and design. Also for four years, she served as Outdoor Club treasurer; participated in PA Wilds trail cleanup; and was on student council, the Homecoming Committee and the Pep Club. Her peers selected her for Homecoming Court.

She earned a four-year letter on the girls varsity basketball team, a point guard award and leadership, MVP and numerous all-conference awards.

She also competed in track and field for four years and earned a three-year letterman award.

A four-year member of the Amateur Athletic Union basketball organization, she played on traveling basketball teams.

A class officer and Prom Committee member, she was a member of the National Business Honor Society, the Invisible Chapter of the National English Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society, and the Ira Grugan Chapter of the National Honor Society.

She volunteered at Crossroads Community Church and was employed as a lifeguard at the borough pool.

This fall, she will major in secondary biology education and play basketball at Juniata College, with a career goal of becoming a high school biology teacher.


Miss St. John Neumann Cheyenne Danneker, daughter of Lori Danneker of Crawford Township and Ed Danneker of South Williamsport, has been on the high honor roll and honor roll and a member of the National Honor Society.

For all four years of high school, she was a class officer and a member of student council, Spirit Club and her the basketball and softball teams.

She participated in the Interscholastic Reading Competition for three years, was on the Homecoming Court as a senior, was co-captain of the finance committee for St. John Neumann’s Mini-THON®, was a prom committee member, assisted with blood drives and donated blood.

She was a member of the Keystone Kountry 4-H Club for five years.

A lifelong member of Immaculate Conception Church, she has assisted with church picnics, dinners and Vacation Bible School.

This fall, she will major in engineering at the Penn State Erie campus. Her career goal is to work as a software engineer and developer or in web development.