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Islanders’ Gearhart named Harvest of Harmony pageant first runner-up

As a freshman at Grand Island Senior High, Samantha Gearhart watched in awe as the Islander Harvest of Harmony queen candidates were named. She wanted to be like them and represent her band. Now, she is.

Samantha was not only chosen to represent the Islanders in the 2022 Harvest of Harmony pageant on Sept. 30, but she was named first runner up. 

“I wanted to inspire the younger generation of girls to go after that opportunity, just like I was inspired by those before me. I had never done anything like this before, so it was a whole new experience,” she said.

Candidates participated in five-minute long interviews where they were asked to answer three questions. The results of the interview determined the pageant winners.

“I honestly was just surprised to be a top 5 finalist,” Samantha, who plays the flute for the GISH band, said. “When they announced that I was first runner up, I just felt so full and happy. It was a really cool experience to be recognized and to be able to represent the Islanders was a really cool opportunity as well.” Photo of Samantha Gearhart waving in the Harvest of Harmony parade as the Islander queen candidate

Band has been a big part of Samantha’s life, as she has participated since sixth grade.

“I enjoy the music that everyone creates together,” Samantha said about being in band. “You do have to sacrifice a little bit of yourself - your time and energy and effort - to help make the group as a whole better,” she said.

Samantha said one question she was asked by the judges was “what are your goals for the future and what steps are you taking now to get there?”

Her goal is to be an entrepreneur and earn a Bachelor's degree in business and marketing.

“I’m not sure exactly what I want to do just yet, but I know that I want to fill a need for the community. I want to find a good work-life balance, and just be able to give back,” Samantha said.

Band has taught her more than just how to play an instrument.

“It has definitely taught me that leadership is everywhere,” Samantha said. “You can be a leader even if you're not an assigned leader. Anyone can be someone that others look up to.”

“I wanted to inspire the younger generation of girls to go after that opportunity as well, and – I had never done anything like this before, it was a whole new experience.”

All of the senior girls in band who were interested in being the queen candidate submitted a written bio and photo. The band members then voted on who would be their representative. 

“That was such a cool feeling” Samantha said. “One morning after early bird band, it was announced that I was going to go, and I was just so excited.”

Congratulations, Samantha, on all your success!