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Meet the 2022 Peanut Queen Candidates! 

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

***See the exclusive interview at the end of this article

GRAPELAND –  The 77th-annual Peanut Festival is set to begin next week in downtown Grapeland this week. One of the most beloved traditions each year has to be the crowning of a new Peanut Queen. 

This year there are four candidates vying for the title, each seniors at Grapeland High School. D’Linda Mahaffey is the teacher coordinating the program and assisted the Messenger in organizing an interview with the young ladies. You will find a video version of that interview at the end of this story.

Here are, therefore, your 2022 Peanut Queen Candidates:

Daria Konkova

Exchange student from Ukraine

Parents: Julia Konkova, Alexander Konkov

Local host family: Channin and Brad Spisak

Sponsor: Elite Fitness

Involved in: Cross Country and Tennis

After graduation: Plans to earn a degree in business

“I won a scholarship and I came to the United States last year. In Ukraine, we do not have sports in school but here there is a huge variety of sports and extra-curricular activities. It has been really different but I am enjoying it. I love math! It’s just something I have enjoyed since childhood. I may forget all the formulas I learned in math classes, but I will have the ability to think logically. I am so excited about the Peanut Queen competition! This is something I have never done before.”

Marley Duhon

Parents: Kim and Randy Duhon

Sponsor: Grapeland Noon Lions Club

Involved in: Varsity Cheer, Varsity Golf

After graduation: Will have earned Associates Degree in May, plans to attend Sam Houston State University to major in Psychology with minor in Criminal Justice to become a child behavioral therapist

“Some of my favorite classes are my college classes. I have a lot of psychology classes that I am taking now – psychology is my favorite. I have taken all the health science classes at Grapeland. The Peanut Festival experience has been great – but nerve-racking! I am very nervous about the pageant. But it has been a great experience and I cannot wait to compete!”

Emily Hanna

Parents: Mark and Teresa Nelson; David Hanna

Sponsor: Mark Hanna Jr. CPA

Involved in: Varsity Cheer

After graduation: Plans to get Bachelor of Science in Nursing to become a labor and delivery nurse

“I do cheer, that is pretty much my only extra-curricular activity. My favorite subject in school is health science. School is kind of stressful right now, but we are making it through! Participating in the festival is really fun and exciting! I like the group – I couldn’t have asked to have any other girls to do it with. It is stressful. I am a little delayed on some things, but I am catching up!” 

Alexis Lopez

Parents: Tabitha Charanza and Chris Lopez, Tonya McQueen (grandmother)

Sponsor: SFC Appraisal Service

Involved in: First year not participating in extracurricular activities to focus on studies

After graduation: To attend Texas A&M to pursue a degree in psychology and become a therapist

“My favorite subject is English. I like writing – it’s just something I am good at. School this year has been difficult and different from last year. Working towards the Peanut Festival has been absolutely wonderful! I am running against three lovely ladies. They are so fun and Ms. Mahaffey has been so helpful, too – she has really supported us.”

The contestants will participate in the 77th Annual Peanut Festival Parade next Saturday, Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. The 2022 Peanut Queen Pageant will be held in the Grapeland ISD Auditorium that night at 7 p.m. See related story in today’s newspaper for a full Peanut Festival schedule for next week. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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