Rockford Ambassador competition attracts five candidates


Rockford will crown its new senior ambassadors at a 3 p.m. ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 10, the last day of this year’s three-day Rockford River Days celebration.

This year’s ambassador candidates are Cassandra Adams-Reyna, Madison Dramen, Emily Eberspacher, Annika Jensen and Monica Orth.

The Rockford River Days Ambassador Program is a nonprofit scholarship program put on solely by volunteers. The program is dedicated to development of friendships and connections amongst surrounding communities, as well as Rockford and its businesses and organizations. Winning ambassadors receive $1,000 scholarships. For information about the Rockford River Days Ambassador Program, visit

The five 2014 candidates submitted biographies. Here are some excerpts.


I will graduate from Rockford High School in 2015. I work at Bridge Street Cafe in Rockford. I start mentoring at Pay It Forward Academy in the fall to help young women who are struggling with life. I wanted to start mentoring because a couple of years ago, I was going down the wrong path in life. I decided to change my life around because not only were my choices affecting me but they were also affecting my loved ones. Now it is my turn to give back and help people who are going through, and facing, similar challenges.

I am very close to my large family. I have one brother who is a junior at Rockford High School. I enjoy talking to him and fishing with him. I have many cousins that I am close to. I have one cousin in the military. I often help his wife with their two small children while he is away.

I plan to go to college to become a preschool teacher, because I enjoy working with small children.


Growing up on a farm taught me about hard work and dedication. My big time pig farm started out with two pigs living in a makeshift fishing house. I had to show my dad my dedication by winning Grand Champion at the Wright County Fair for him to buy a farm so we could build our farming name.

I have been in 4-H for nine years and have a goal of winning Grand Champion at the Minnesota State Fair. Although working on a farm is a lot of work, throughout it all I built a great relationship with my dad. Every year we go to many fairs like The World Pork Expo in Iowa, Indiana State Fair, Minnesota State Fair, Wright County Fair and many more.

I am always volunteering and helping my community by painting signs, cleaning libraries, the Wright Hennepin Dinner, and helping deliver food with Lunch Box Fever to kids in Rockford.

Another hobby of mine is modeling. It has taught me about the person I strive to be and how to show the way I want to be perceived. Last year around Christmas I was invited to go to California for the International Modeling and Talent Association convention. There I met many big name producers and actors. They talked to me about the dedication they put into their career and how they started with IMTA, too.

I work at Jimmy John’s. Working there has taught me about how much a person’s attitude can affect things, to not let little things bother you, and to get all your work done as efficiently as possible. We all have to have great communication throughout the store or sandwiches start getting messed up and things don’t get done. It’s a hard job, but we all are there for each other just like family.


I will be a high school senior taking College in Schools calculus, physics, human biology and western civilization literature and composition. My other courses will be agricultural business Spanish, band, and choir.

As far as athletics go, I am a captain for both the volleyball team and the track and field team. During off-seasons, I participate in the Rocket Power strength training program, and I play club volleyball in winter. Some leadership organizations I’m in include Link Crew and National Honor Society. I’m also a member of Rockford High School’s student council, and I was class president as an 11th grader. I have enjoyed pit orchestra, and this fall I hope to become a Future Farmers of America member.

Outside of school I volunteer with Riverwood Covenant Church on the cleaning committee, help at church events, and participate in church fundraisers and community outreach programs. With Riverworks I help at the annual Riverworks Steak Fry Dinner. Participating in the Thousand Hearts Serve Day is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. Also, I have volunteered to baby-sit for different people in the community. Volunteering is so rewarding. I have met many different people, increased my work ethic, learned how to be a higher-level problem solver and felt the joy of going out of my way to make a positive difference for someone else.

I have worked at Ace Hardware in Rockford since the beginning of June. I really wanted to get a job at Ace to learn a lot about things that would be relevant to my future and develop a wide variety of skills.

I am an only child, so my parents and I are very close and like to spend time together. I’m also really close to my grandpa John. I also value time I spend with friends. I am so thankful for all the relationships I have with them.


I will be a senior this fall at Rockford High School. I’ve lived in Rockford for eight years.

This will be my sixth season on the Rocket cheerleading team and my second year as captain. I’ve been in one-act plays and musicals the past few years. Music is a passion of mine. I’m an active member of band and choir. I’m also involved in Chamber Choir and jazz band, in which I play piano. I’m a National Honor Society member.

This past school year, I was a Link Leader. Link is a program which makes connections between incoming freshmen and upperclassmen in order to make transition into high school as smooth as possible. In my free time, I enjoy playing the piano and painting.

I aspire to be a dentist and plan on going to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. I love helping people and hope to become an influential community member. I would like to become more involved with Riverworks, especially with the food shelf. I feel this is an important way our community has become united and it’s been incredible to see benefits of its outreach efforts.


I am a high school senior aspiring to be educated, productive and influential. I am involved in many different sports. I play fall volleyball for Rockford High School, winter volleyball for Rockford Junior Olympics and summer volleyball for the Rockford team in a league hosted in Howard Lake. I snowboard through Community Ed’s Ski/Snowboard Club. I also snowboard in Colorado every year.

During fall, I manage football, and in winter, I enjoy managing the boy’s basketball team. I love managing and value experiences I get while doing it. I have learned time management due to my overlapping schedules, as well work ethic and responsibility.

I have already accomplished some amazing things. I got some of my poetry published in “Stars of Our Hearts” in 2012. I also completed a six-month course at Barbizon: School of Modeling and Acting. While in Barbizon, for the talent segment in our final show, I sang with a friend “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts. Another accomplishment was having a summer job as a stable hand at Pegasus Riding School last summer. Horses have been a passion of mine ever since I was a young girl.

I have always been pushed to strive for the best. Support from my family is what keeps me going and working towards bigger and better accomplishments. I have a very close relationship with my younger sister, Hailie. She is my biggest fan for my singing. My dad supports me as well. Like any family, we have had our ups and downs, but what always brings us back together is mutual desire for happiness, support and togetherness.

I hope to become an adolescent therapist. I find amazing bliss in inspiring people and restoring hope in their lives. One of my greatest joys is helping people. I have become so interested in people’s feelings, emotions and mental health. I enjoy learning about people’s stories and life struggles. Not only does this make me feel trusted and needed, it also lets me know that the people opening up to me for help, believe I can, in fact, help.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]