Strawberry queen says pageant changed her life

A sun-kissed Kelsey Berry is sweet as a strawberry. Shayden Rutland Photography

Reigning Strawberry Festival Queen, Kelsey Berry, will be a freshman at Carl Albert State College this fall. The image of the 2022 graduate of Westville High School graces the cover of the 2022 Awesome Adair County Resource Guide, carrying a flat of strawberries being auctioned off during the Strawberry Festival.

Career plans are focused on getting into nursing school to be a registered nurse, and she also will continue to participate in queen activities.

“I plan to attend the backpack giveaway and I’ll be going to visit schools once they start back, and any upcoming events I can be apart of,” Berry said.

Being in the pageant was a great experience for her.

“The pageant process taught me that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can make a difference, and that you are worthy of so much and can do anything you put your mind to,” said Berry.

She encourages other girls to participate in the pageant.

“It brings out a whole new perspective in your life. I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone, I’ve been involved in so many things with helping people and my community. It just gives you this amazing feeling, knowing you have taken the time and made an effort to make others feel loved,” Berry said. 

Opportunities she never imagined have given her hope.

“I’ve enjoyed giving my testimony at the girls' camp I attended. I got to see so many lives changed that night and I got to pray with them. It was just the best experience yet. I also enjoyed going to the nursing home and singing with them and having Bible study,” she said. 

Activities, events and places she’s represented as the Strawberry Queen include Easter Egg hunts in Stilwell and Westville, Rocky Mountain School, Westville classrooms, Westville Kids Buck out Rodeo, Feed My Sheep, Stilwell All-School Reunion, Stilwell’s Got Talent, Stilwell Rodeo, nursing home, kids camp, Boys & Girls Club, and Westville Rodeo. She sang the National Anthem at the Stilwell Comedy Show and 4th of July picnic and played games, and visited the State Capitol. She was on television’s News on 8.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of being queen. I have made the best memories and had so much fun,” she said.

Berry has met many people and kids so far during her tenure.

“I got to enjoy spending time with sweet kids, elders, and the community. My heart is so full; I love seeing all the smiles and talking with everyone. It has honestly changed my life,” Berry said.

She’s learned about "smile power."

“I’ve learned so much by being queen. I’ve learned that I can make a difference in others by just smiling at them. I’ve learned that people just need a little love and kindness. And I’ve learned that pageants aren’t about the beauty on the outside, but what’s on the inside,” she said. 

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