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Six vying for 2006 Ambassador title

Six finalists from throughout Kitsap County are participating in the 2006 Puget Sound Energy Armed Forces Festival Ambassadors Program. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Keyport Museum Auditorium.

“These kids are the cream of the crop,” said Sandra Smith, Ambassadors Program coordinator.

Students are selected based on their academics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, letters of recommendation and an essay entitled “What Freedom Means to Me.”

This year’s finalists are Anibel America of Bremerton, Trevor Hansen of Hansville, Barbieto “Barbie” Morris of Bremerton, Ashlea Olwell of Bremerton, Carolyn Schuetz of Silverdale and Diosa Werner of Olalla.

The event is free to the public. Capt. Jonathan Dowell, commanding officer of NUWC Division Keyport, and Cris Larsen, comedian and Armed Forces chairman, are the emcees. Kristen Eddings, Miss Kitsap 2006, will provide musical entertainment.

During the contest, finalists deliver a speech based on an interview with a military veteran or a foreign-born national who has chosen to become an American citizen.

The presentations make for a patriotic and oftentimes tear-jerking evening, Smith said.

Finalists also answer impromptu questions. Students have already been evaluated on their essays and personal interviews with a panel of judges.

“It’s a growing opportunity,” Smith said, offering the students a chance to speak with different facets of the community.

“A lot of these kids have never been on a naval base and they grew up here,” Smith added.

Anibel America is the daughter of Eden and Anecito America of Guam and attends Bremerton High School. She has been active in Drill Team, National Honor Society, Skills USA and Debate Club. She was named the Bremerton Chamber’s Student of the Quarter in January. She also took First Place at the Skills USA Mini-Regionals in Related Technical Math.

Trevor Hansen, the son of Jane Jacobs attends Academy Northwest and Olympic College’s Running Start program. He is a volunteer with Kitsap Regional Library and Kingston Christian Church’s Awana Club, serving as a Leader-In-Training. Among his honors, he is a National Merit Semi-Finalist and on the Dean’s List at Olympic College and nationally. He won the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest from the VFW and has received awards from Americorps, Bremerton Police Department, Awana and Kingston Church.

Barbieto “Barbie” Morris, the daughter of Gaudelia and Albert Morris, attends Olympic High School. She has been involved with DECA as its treasurer and president and is the president of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Her activities have included serving as general manager of the Outreach Dinner and as the Costco, Pepsi and general manager of the student store. Morris has received several awards including a Faculty Citizenship Award, Outstanding Leadership and Academic Achievement.

Ashlea Olwell, the daughter of Nancy and Phil Olwell, attends Bremerton High School. She is the captain of the school’s varsity soccer team and plays on the varsity golf team. She is a participant with the Sportsmanship Committee, National Honor Society, Students Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Suicide. Olwell volunteers with Harrison Medical Center, Campfire Boys and Girls, Forest Ridge Rehabilitation Center, Summit Avenue Church and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Carolyn Schuetz, the daughter of Brenda and Bob Schuetz, attends Central Kitsap High School. She is the senior class Associated Student Body secretary, a member of the National Honor Society and FBLA. She participates in both school and select cheerleading, serving as squad captain this year. Schuetz is a volunteer with the Central Kitsap Food Bank and is a tutor for Algebra II.

Diosa Werner, the daughter of Prescila and Ronald Werner, attends Olympic College. Diosa is a South Kitsap High School graduate, where she was listed with the Who’s Who Among American High School Students. She has been a member of Dance Arts Theatre for nine years with 16 years of dance experience. Werner was on South Kitsap’s Dance Team and received the Most Valuable Dance award.

The first place winner receives a $1,500 scholarship provided by Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce members. Second place receives $750, provided by the Downtown Bremerton and East Bremerton Rotary Clubs. Third place receives $500 from the Bremerton Central Lions Club. Fourth place receives $300, which is provided by Best Western Bremerton Inn. All other finalists receive $100.

The student winning the best essay award will receive $100 cash courtesy of Robin Curtis and the Estate of John Curtis. The candidate who has the most admission tickets redeemed wins $100.

The Ambassadors’ first public appearances will be at the Armed Forces Festival Luncheon at Kitsap Golf & Country Club on Tuesday, May 16.

They also will be in the 58th Annual American Financial Solutions Armed Forces Day Parade on Saturday, May 20, in downtown Bremerton, and later this summer in the Fathoms of Fun and Whaling Days parades.

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