THE DURAND Railroad Days Crowning Ceremony was held on Friday, March 1 at Durand Union Station. Queen candidates were judged on their application essays, one-on-one interviews, a speech on “How to get more candidates to run for Miss Railroad Days” and their ability to communicate, personality, poise and overall enthusiasm for the community and the Durand Railroad Days Festival.
Judges Sue Ackers, Janet Amidon, Chrissy Andre, Jan Bronson, Kelly French, Renee Kelly, Ted Hamilton and Sara Sutton selected the 2019 Durand Railroad Days Court, which is comprised of Queen Emily Hartzell (top right), Attendant Madison Dagen, Princess Sophia Latreille and Prince Jaxon Weiske.
Emily Hartzell is the daughter of Ernie and Jennifer Hartzell. She is 18 years old and is a senior at Durand High School. Emily has many hobbies, including varsity soccer, volleyball, choir, madrigals and Spanish Club. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, ranked in the top 10 of her graduating class and is class president. Emily has accomplished four years of academic excellence and has earned seven varsity letters. She has maintained a 3.9 GPA all four years of high school and has been student of the month. Emily plans on attending Western Michigan University, where she will study aviation. Emily is sponsored by Shaw’s Pharmacy & Gifts.
Madison Dagen is the daughter of Nikole Dagen of Bancroft, and James and Tiffany Dagen of Battle Creek. She is 16 years old and is a junior at Durand High School. Madison likes to spend her time volunteering in activities such as helping with a 3- and 4-year-old cheer team, a special needs cheer team and Durand youth cheer. She also volunteers at the Burns Grange in Bancroft and helped decorate the Depot and with the Santa visits. Madison’s hobbies include being in the Spanish Club, helping with the blood drive, varsity cheer and being a peer mentor. Some of Madison’s accomplishments include being on the A/B honor roll since 6th-grade, earning an academic award and letters, being top 5 in AP Psych, and being in honors English since 8th-grade. Her future plans include graduating with honors and attending either MSU, GVSU, CMU or WMU to study nursing, specializing in neo natal. Madison is sponsored by All About U Fitness.
Sophia Latreille is the daughter of Justin Latreille and Cassandra Kallin. She is 7 years old and is in 2nd-grade at Robert Kerr Elementary. Sophia has an older brother, Julius, and an older sister, Madison. Sophia enjoys playing basketball, dance and spending time with her dog, Polka. Sophia is sponsored by Windmill Point of Bancroft.
Jaxon Weiske is the son of Ashley and David Lockhart of Durand, and Bob Varco of Vernon. He is 7 years old and is in 2nd-grade at Robert Kerr Elementary. Jaxon has a younger sister named Luci and a new baby sister. He is involved in many activities like Cub Scouts, baseball and football. Jaxon also enjoys riding four-wheelers, snowmobiles and boats. Jaxon is sponsored by D-Railed Bar & Grill.
Durand Railroad Days royalty are the ambassadors for the annual Railroad Days Festival, which is held the weekend after Mother’s Day. They represent the Railroad Days Festival and the greater Durand community by attending community events and traveling to other festival parades. The royalty are sponsored by Randy Wise of Durand and the Durand Lioness Club, with photos courtesy of A & R Portraits of Durand.