With those long golden locks and a silver crown perched atop her head, itâ€™s no wonder elementary school students are in awe of the Apple Queen.
â€œI liked her story that she read to us, and I liked her crown, and I liked what she talked about to us, and I liked her picture that she gave us,â€ said Keenen Cothran, a second-grade student at Love Memorial Elementary School.
His fellow students agree â€” especially about the crown.
â€œIt was pretty and sparkly,â€ said Daisy Engle, another student.
The Apple Queen, Caroline Farris, descended upon the school to encourage students to read. If (according to their Reading Counts points) theyâ€™re one of the top three readers in the school, theyâ€™ll be able to have lunch with the Apple Queen.
Farris, a North Lincoln High School student, will visit all 11 elementary schools before the May lunch.
â€œI love it,â€ she said. â€œI love the kids and their questions.â€
The most popular questions have to do with apples â€“ â€œHow do you make apples?â€ and â€œWhy didnâ€™t you bring any apples?â€
She has also been asked why there is no Apple King (second-grader Blake McCurry offered to take that role), where her limousine was and if theyâ€™re allowed to touch her crown. One little boy even proposed marriage.
And while the boys might be hearing wedding the bells, the girls covet the Apple Queen title.
â€œI would like to have a crown like that,â€ said Stephanie Salas, a second-grade student.
According to Judy Buff, a teacher at Love Memorial Elementary School, all this admiration is a good thing.
â€œA lot of children attend the Apple Festival, and I think her coming to read to the children is great,â€ Buff said. â€œIt makes it more interesting.â€
Itâ€™s not Farrisâ€™ toothy grin and blond hair that make the Apple Queen an appropriate role model for children. Organizers hope that children walk away thinking â€œWell the Apple Queen, sheâ€™s not just pretty, she reads.â€
â€œThey look up to her, and they remember that,â€ Buff said.
Farris hopes her short sessions of reading books like â€œWhere the Wild Things Areâ€ make an impact on students.
â€œI think itâ€™s really important for them to enjoy reading,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s a life long thing. Not being able to read and enjoy it â€” you wonâ€™t learn anything.â€
This will be the second year Lincoln County children will be rewarded for reading with an Apple Queen-hosted lunch.
Besides encouraging literacy, Farris has made good healthcare a platform for her reign as Apple Queen.
by Sarah Grano