Even though Emma Franklin is just 17, she understands the impact positive female role models have played in her life. As 2017 Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival Queen, she recognizes she now has the opportunity to do the same for the youth in her community.

“I thought it would be fun to be a positive role model for younger girls in the community,” Franklin said of one of the primary reasons she entered as a candidate for this year’s festival. “I’ve always been involved in the Syrup Festival and have enjoyed being a part of it.”

Though she may not yet realize it, her many activities, aspirations and personality are already making a positive impact. Franklin is an officer on the Maple Valley High School student council, is a member of the National Honor Society, in Drama Club, Da Capo, and a member of the high school track and volleyball teams. In addition, she has been a member of 4-H throughout most of her youth and still plays an active role in the 4-H petting zoo at the Syrup Festival each year.

“I love putting on the petting zoo with my 4-H Club,” she said.

On top of all that, she has found time to help coach an AAU volleyball team this spring while serving as one of the designers of a community mural currently being painted in Nashville. Being involved in Honors Art at Maple Valley High School, she was able to help out in the art room. The relationships she built there gained the trust of her teacher, who selected Franklin to design half of the Nashville community mural.

Being a part of her community is another reason Franklin said she wanted to become Syrup Festival Queen.

“I like seeing how the community works together,” she said. “The festival brings everyone together every year and it’s really fun to see how all of the different organizations come together.”

Franklin said she will also use her title to help raise awareness of the environment, and show tremendous gratitude for all of the volunteers that make the festival possible each year.

This year’s Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival will be held Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30 in downtown Vermontville. You can find a complete schedule on page 14 of this week’s County Journal or at vermontvillemaplesyrupfestival.org.