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home : news : e-news August 9, 2022

9/11/2016 12:01:00 AM
Apple Queen's Platform Is Unique To Her
Keely Stempien with her mom, Tallie Stempien, who has had Crohn’s since 2003, and has been in the hospital an entire year since 2009.(Lincoln Herald Staff Photo by Melissa Cordell)
Keely Stempien with her mom, Tallie Stempien, who has had Crohn’s since 2003, and has been in the hospital an entire year since 2009.

(Lincoln Herald Staff Photo by Melissa Cordell)

Keely with her siblings Kenna, 10, and Konnor, 12.(Photo Courtesy of Keely Stempien)
Keely with her siblings
Kenna, 10, and Konnor, 12.


(Photo Courtesy of Keely Stempien)

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  • Meet Keely Stempien, the 38th Miss Lincoln County Apple Queen at the BPW Booth on the east side of the Courthouse on Saturday, September 17 in downtown Lincolnton at the Lincoln County Apple Festival!


Melissa Cordell
Lincoln Herald Staff


LINCOLNTON, N.C. - Keely Stempien, West Lincoln High School senior, is the 38th Miss Lincoln County Apple Queen. We sat down with her at her home and had a one-on-one interview with her about her reign.

Stempien’s platform is to work with Crohn’s and colitis, raising both awareness and money for the cause. Her desire to work on this directly stems from her mom’s diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.

This platform comes along with a few ideas of attaining her goal, including sponsored walks and run and hosting horse riding classes every month at the Ponderosa to raise money.

Stempien feels that her platform starts her off on a different note than past Apple Queens, because her cause is unique to her and the community.

“My mom is my biggest role model, because she’s had Crohn’s since 2003, and she’s been in the hospital an entire year since 2009. She’s been our biggest inspiration, because she’s brought our family closer together,” she said. Her mother, Tallie Stempien, added on to this after Stempien excused herself to go fetch her sash and crown, that Keely has been a huge help to the family since her diagnosis.

With her mother spending so much time in the hospital, Stempien had to assume a maternal role in her family; packing lunches for her siblings Kenna, 10, and Konnor, 12; checking homework; and insuring the smooth daily runnings of the household that her mother normally took care of. Tallie Stempien said her husband, Todd, has appreciated the help a lot.

Tallia Stempien said: “Family is important to Keely. She’s had to step up and try to be me. She’s my right hand.”

Stempien also wants to mix up how Apple Queens address elementary and even middle school, students.

She said: “I want to go out to the schools and instead of just reading to the younger kids, I want to do a healthy project and show kid--this is the right thing to eat, this is the right portion size, and maybe show them some exercises.”

Her interest in this project was sparked from a West Lincoln High School club, Girls Rock, which is a running group that also offers a support system for females and their health.

Another project close to her is homelessness. Her sophomore year of high school, she spent a week in NYC, where she was able to help distribute over 10,000 meals to the homeless with Hull's Grove Church over Thanksgiving weekend.

Stempien’s a planner, and she’s been planning on becoming the Apple Queen crown for a while.

“Sarah Jolly (Lincoln County Apple Queen 2008), came to my elementary school and had a big presentation and talked in front of everyone, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to be when I grow up,’” she said.

Her biggest academic challenge was in early elementary school.

“When I started in first grade, I couldn’t read at all. I had to memorize words to learn how to read.”

Her hard work and effort certainly paid off as she’s now hopefully graduating valedictorian, complete with involvement in Beta Club, National Technical Honor Society, and National Honor Society. She is also president of the FBLA chapter at her high school and Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is involved with the Anti-Bullying Commission, Student Advisory Council, and Student Council at WLHS. Her resume is complete with competitive dancing at Extreme Edge Dance Studio of Lincolnton, showing horses, and all conference track and cross country.

Stempien hopes that her academic success has an effect on how people learn from her during her reign. “I want kids to see that smarts and going out and doing things and having a plan and having ambitions in life is more important than just looking pretty or just having a title.”

When asked if she was going to do more pageants, she laughed and said, “We’ll see.”

Her faith has played a part in the development of who she has become.

“I’ve been saved since I was four. Ever since I was four, I said I wanted my heart clean; I didn’t want it dirty anymore,” she recollected to me as she and her mother gave warm smiles to each other.

She hopes to gain pre-college experience from her time as our Apple Queen, giving her the skill to speak in front of people and give attention to things that she cares about.

Her postgrad plans include attending UNC-Chapel Hill to get a degree in nursing.

In her spare time, if any, Stempien can be found with a Karen Kingsbury or Nicholas Sparks novel. But one has to wonder how she has time for any leisurely reading with a full plate her senior year of high school, including a course load of five advanced placement classes and online Gaston College courses.

“It’s really busy, but somehow we’ve made it work,” Stempien said with a smile.

---Melissa Cordell graduated from Lincolnton High School and is currently studying Journalism and Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a nature and coffee enthusiast and enjoys warm weather. If you have a story idea for Melissa please let us know by emailing us at LH@lincolnherald.net.




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