This year we welcome six young women who will be vying to represent the City of Willmar as Willmar Fests Queen of Festivals, International Princess and Aqua Princess.
Here you can find out more about each of our candidates.
Kali Jensen is the 18-year-old daughter of Connie Jensen and Stacey Olson. She is a 2017 academic distinction graduate from Willmar Senior High School. While in high school, Kali was very active in Speech, KCEO, Musicals, One Act, Solo Ensemble, and Choir. During her Junior year Kali was the Vice President of Choralaires and President her senior year. Kali was selected to be a Speech Captain her Senior year by the coaches and teammates. She has also received her Silver and Bronze award in Girl Scouts. Kali has volunteered throughout the community delivering for Meals on Wheels, helping with activities at nursing homes, and helping to prepare and serve community meals. Throughout high school, Kali became very active in her church. She was a member of the Family Promise Task Force Team. She also has gone on several mission trips and has helped lead VBS and Sunday school throughout the years. Kali grew up helping her Grandpa sell produce at the Farmers Market and is currently working at Cardinal Place. She is currently enrolled at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota as she plans on obtaining a degree in Elementary Education with a focus in Special Education and Youth Ministry. She is still active in Choir, Musicals and various Ministry Teams while in college. Kali is also a member of Orange Tide, which promotes school spirit in various activities and sports on campus. In her free time, Kali enjoys spending time with friends and family, singing, going to the lake, and taking many selfies. Kali’s Willmar Fests Sponsor is Slumberland Furniture.
Staci Banks is the 19-year-old daughter of Earl and Deb Banks. She is a 2017 graduate from Willmar Senior High School. During school, Staci was involved in Volleyball, Softball and Cardettes. She was also on the Year Book Committee her Senior year. Staci received letter awards in volleyball and in dance. She is now enrolled at Ridgewater College where she is perusing a business degree. Staci is also continuing to play volleyball as a Ridgewater Warrior. She hopes to one day own her own doggy daycare business. She is very passionate about animals and is an animal lover. Staci is currently a Dietary Aid at Bethesda nursing home. In her spare time, Staci enjoys going fishing, being outdoors, working out, hanging out with friends and family, playing with her two cats and her dog, watching Netflix or Hulu and eating. Staci’s Willmar Fest sponsor is Mills Automotive Group.
Abygail Kienholz is the 19-year-old daughter of Kelly and Dorothy Kienholz. She is a 2017 Honors Graduate from Willmar Senior High School. While in high school, Abygail was involved in Choir, Orchestra, Softball, and was the Girls Basketball Manager as well. In addition, Abygail received varsity letters in volleyball, basketball, softball, and academics. Abygail is active in church where she teaches Sunday school and is a vacation bible school leader during the summer. Abygail was also a student leader for the respect retreat her senior year. Abygail is currently furthering her education at Ridgewater College where she plans on graduating with her Associates Degree and a Communications degree as well. After she finishes her studies at Ridgewater, she plans on majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Youth Ministry. As of now, Abygail keeps herself busy at Cardinal Place, where she watches over preschoolers during the year, and kindergartners and first graders during the summer. In her free time, Abygail enjoys spending time outdoors, laughing, singing, and spending time with her friends and family. Abygail’s Willmar Fest sponsor is Willmar Bus.
Emily Skalla is the 19-year-old daughter of Kevin and Nancy Skalla. She is a 2017 highest honors with distinction graduate from Willmar Senior High School. While in high school, Emily was active in school musicals, choir, the jazz choir “2701”, solo ensemble, National Honor Society, and was the Public Relations Officer in Student Council. Emily also received varsity letters in golf, academics, and the arts for her participation in Speech. She additionally received a choir leadership award. She volunteered at St. Mary’s Catholic Church during vacation bible school, was a Respect Retreat leader, and participated as a Student Rotarian. Emily is currently attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she is pursuing a Major in Microbiology and a Minor in Child Psychology. She made the Dean’s List both semesters of her freshman year. Emily hopes to one day go to medical school and pursue a career in Pediatrics. At the U, she is a member of the University Honors Program and volunteers at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in the playroom. Emily looks forward to serving on the College of Biological Sciences Student Board throughout her sophomore year. She currently works at Bethesda Grand nursing home, where she has been happily employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant for three years. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, playing piano, attending concerts, drinking coffee, being at the lake, and spending time with her friends and family. Emily’s Willmar Fests sponsor is Heritage Bank.
Carly Hulstein is the 18-year-old daughter of Jason and Amy Hulstein. She is a 2017 highest honors and academic distinction graduate from Willmar Senior High School. While in high school, Carly was very active in music and participated in band, choir, fall musicals, 2701, and Solo Ensemble, earning a superior rating in all performances. In high school, she earned a letter in academics all four years and a letter in varsity softball for three years. During her senior year she served as Willmar’s Varsity Softball Captain. She was a member of the Yearbook Committee, National Honor Society, and Key Club where she served as Vice President. Carly was also a Respect Retreat leader as well as a student representative for the Lions Club. Throughout high school, Carly was also active in her church community as she was a member of the Vinje Shalom Church Choir and a Sunday School teacher. Carly is currently furthering her education at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph Minnesota, where she plans to major in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Middle School Mathematics. She has been on the Dean’s List for both semesters of her freshman year. After earning her degree, she hopes to return to live and teach in the Willmar community. Carly continued her involvement in the arts in college by becoming a member of the St. Ben’s Women’s Choir. She also spends her time as a tutor for local Somali students and as an America Reads Tutor at Westwood Elementary School in St. Cloud. Carly is active in clubs and organizations such as Love Your Melon, Education Club, Hynes Scholar Program, and is a member of the CSB Honor’s Program where she serves on the Honors Planning & Advisory Council. Carly currently works at Willmar Community Education & Recreation as a lead children recreation staff and will continue to be an America Reads Tutor at a St. Cloud elementary school for the 2018-2019 school year. In her free time, Carly enjoys watching her brothers play baseball, babysitting, spending time on the boat with her family, and volunteering in various elementary school classrooms. Carly’s Willmar Fests Sponsor is DATASuccess.
Leslie Alvarez is the 18 year-old daughter of Dulce Alvarez. She is a 2017 graduate from Willmar Senior High School. During the span of her education, she was very active in both orchestra and band. During her senior year of high school, she became a sales associate at Glo’ Studio. She is now enrolled at the University of Sioux Falls where she is on the pre-health track with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. Where she hopes to continue her education by attending Medical school and going on to becoming a doctor in the neurological field. While attending college she is very active in the community, spending time volunteering. Leslie is currently on staff at the Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center. Despite being born to a teen mom and being raised in a single parent household, she has constantly proven that one does not need the picture perfect household in order to achieve her goals. In her free time, Leslie enjoys baking, reading, spending time with her family and friends and painting. Leslie’s Willmar Fests sponsor is Minnwest Technology Campus.