The contestants in the 2011 Celebration Ball Queen Contest will be attending Olde Freehold Day at Lake Topanemus, Pond Road, Freehold Township, on July 30 to share with people the reasons why they are involved in the foundation’s fundraising event.
The queen contestants are asked to raise money for CentraState Medical Center, Freehold Township. For every dollar each contestant raises, a vote is cast. The contestant who receives the most votes at the end of the contest will be crowned Ball Queen.
Lynn Canon is an executive assistant at the CentraState Healthcare Foundation and has been working with the young women to help them achieve their fundraising goals.
The past year has seen various events and activities held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the medical center, which opened in 1971 as Freehold Area Hospital. The planning for what became the first hospital in western Monmouth County had started a decade earlier.
“In uncovering our history, we learned that there used to be a queen crowned starting the first year ” a fundraising ball was held, Canon said. The tradition of crowning a queen ended in 1978. It has now been revived as the medical center marks its 50th anniversary.
The contest was open to young women between the ages of 16 and 23. Each contestant is eligible to win a scholarship based on her academic standing and an essay. Scholarships in the amount of $500, $1,000 and $2,000 will be awarded.
Between now and the end of September the contestants will work to raise money for the hospital. The proceeds will be dedicated to the expansion of CentraState’s Radiation Therapy Center, which is part of the medical center’s cancer care program.
In order to raise money, the young women are writing letters of solicitation, attending community events and getting creative. One contestant is selling bracelets that contain the phrase “Don’t be a drag, support a queen.”
“We encourage them to be creative. They are coming up with some really good ideas,” Canon said. “We all know someone who has been touched by cancer. It hits home for a lot of the girls. All of these young women are doing a wonderful job, and it has been a pleasure working with them over the past few months.”
The contestants seeking the title of queen are Dara Ades of Colts Neck, who is sponsored by Interstate Power, Samantha Hirsch of Colts Neck, who is being sponsored by the Family Practice of Central Jersey, and Mariagrace Iantosca of Manalapan, who is being sponsored by OceanFirst Bank.
“I feel that giving back to your community is very important. Having raised money in the past, I feel that I can make a difference for this organization,” Iantosca said.
Jacqueline Lepore of Colts Neck is being sponsored by Association Advisors, Shannon Meyers of Manalapan is being sponsored by 33 East Car Wash, Alexa Payesko of Howell is being sponsored by BabySmart USA, and Danielle Piccolini of Freehold Township is being sponsored by the Metropolitan Café.
“Over the years, I have seen firsthand how much CentraState has done for the community. Given my passion for service, this seems like the perfect way for me to give back to a community that has done so much for me,” Piccolini said.
Alannah Schauer of Red Bank Catholic High School is being sponsored by Farmingdale Family Practice, and Ijeoma Unachukwu of Marlboro High School is being sponsored by Michael Duru Clothiers.
Amandalee Roman is a student at Brookdale Community College and is being sponsored by Applewood Estates.
“As an employee of CentraState, I would love to be a part of our history and I enjoy helping raise money for others in need,” Roman said.
On Oct. 1 there will be a cocktail reception held for the queen contestants. The top three contenders for the queen’s crown will be announced, as well as the scholarship recipients.
On Oct. 22, the 50th annual Celebration Ball will be held at the Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, where the new queen will be crowned in front of more than 400 guests.
The committee that is working to put together the 2011 Celebration Ball Queen Contest is still looking for donations in order to award the winner with prizes. Business owners who may be interested in donating a prize may call 732-294-7030. Donations may also be made to help a contestant reach her goal.