The Top Ten Candidates for the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Royalty will appear this week on NewsRadio 560 KPQ/FM 101.7

Candidates compete in the Cashmere Valley Bank Royalty Selection Pageant at the Numerica PAC on Saturday, Feb. 10th  The Queen and two Princesses will be crowned to reign over the 105th Washington State Apple Blossom Festival April 25th - May 5th, 2024 in Wenatchee, WA.

Check back here to learn more about each of the ten hopefuls for this year's Royal Court

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Meet 2024 Apple Blossom Royalty Top Ten Candidate Jenissa Hepton

Top 10 Candidate Jenissa Hepton Image: Parson's Photography/WA Apple Blossom Festival
Top 10 Candidate Jenissa Hepton Image: Parson's Photography/WA Apple Blossom Festival

Jenissa Hepton is the daughter of Tiffany Gardner, and Jeff and Heather Hepton.  She is a senior at Wenatchee High School.

KPQ: One of the highlights of the year for me is when we get a chance to meet the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Royalty top 10 candidates.   Jenissa Hepton, congratulations on making it into the top 10 and thanks for joining us today on the program.

JH: Thank you so much I'm so excited to be here.

KPQ: We want to get a chance to to meet all of you and get to know you a little bit so tell us a little about some of your high school extracurricular activities.

JH:  I would say the main thing that I do at the high school is that I am the ASB president. So my job and that is to make sure that all of the ASB teams, whether that's senate members or spirit coordinator and a culture coordinator.  All these students that have individualized jobs, it's my job to make sure that they have all the tools necessary to make sure that we're able to serve the student body as well as possible. Another one of my big commitments at the high school is mental health committee. Our goal is to  create a safe and welcoming place for all students of Wenatchee high school.  To be able to come and focus on having a calm and friendly part of their day. I was also on the volleyball team this year so unfortunately, my career is over there but I definitely love being a part of the team. Wenatchee has such an amazing group of girls that come out every year and are just so kind and supportive. I'm captain of the Wenatchee track and field team. So that's definitely one of my favorite parts about high school.

KPQ: Well that segues into my next question, what are some of your leadership roles or volunteer activities and what you've learned from that about yourself?

JH: I would definitely say that I'm the type of person that any chance possible I like to step on to a leadership opportunity. So whether that's being captain or president or just helping make sure that everything's going in the right direction. I would have to say that stepping up into these positions has definitely helped me see the type of person that I want to be and be able to become that person with lots of guiding and shaping.  I've learned so much about my community and how I can help them, but more specifically,  the student body. I've just really been able to grasp the idea that everybody is so different and there's so many different ways to lead.

KPQ:  What has been your favorite class at Wenatchee high school and why did you enjoy it?

JH:  My go to is probably ASB.   I love just being a part of helping our student body as much as possible and it's such a friendly environment. Everyone's kind of there to do the same thing and to make a difference.

KPQ: What are your plans after graduation and to further your education or pursue a career"

JH:  After graduation, I am committed to attend Washington State University in the fall, where I plan to major in primary education and minor in leadership.

KPQ: If you want to teach, do you have a particular age group that you prefer?

JH: Yeah, I'm definitely leaning more towards third grade. My mom's a kindergarten teacher. So I've kind of seen some insights into that and I'm thinking maybe just a little bit older.

KPQ:  What's your favorite Apple Blossom Festival memory? 

JH:  Oh, wow.  I would have to say that I'm not sure if I have one favorite memory, but  my birthday is right around Apple Blossom. So it's definitely one of my favorite traditions to go down and we kind of just treat it like it's my week look at all of the amazing things.  There are a few stores (vendors) there that kind of know me and it's my birthday.  it's definitely just a fun experience.

KPQ: So They're throwing an arts and crafts festival just for Janessa?

JH: Yep, they know me so well.

KPQ:  I've got to ask what is your your favorite food fair booth and what's your must go to first stop Food Fair vendor?

JH:  We talk about it all year long in anticipation.  My favorite is Inna's Cuisine and I absolutely love their piroshskys. I know they actually they have a restaurant here in Wenatchee, but it's definitely just a Food Fair tradition and I don't feel like I can go get them during the year.

KPQ:  Besides yourself, which of the other top 10 candidates is most deserving of representing the festival as a member of the Royal Court?  I want you to think about others above self.

JH:  I would definitely say I think all of the candidates are amazing of course and all would do a spectacular job. But the person that I just know deserves this so much and I know would do so amazing is Samantha Dodd.  I know that her intentions are fully in the right place and I love how knowledgeable of Wenatchee she is. She definitely does all of her research and tries to know everything coming into this and I find that so admirable.

KPQ:  Why do you want to represent the Wenatchee Valley and the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival as a member of the Royal court?

JH:  Having grown up in Wenatchee and Apple Blossom definitely being one of our biggest events of the year that everybody just can't wait for all throughout the year,  I've always kind of known that I wanted to represent Wenatchee in this way.  But it definitely comes down to I know that I am able to represent Wenatchee in a way that I feel that I can be kind to people and I can help people make their days a little bit better.  A lot of times coming into this we focus on like little girls and like wanting to inspire them and make them want to do this but I think it also is just about every member of the community. I think that someone who's been coming to the festival for 20 years versus two deserves just as much kindness and joy about the festival

KPQ:  What was it like waiting backstage to hear your name called to make the Top Ten Candidates? 

JH:  It was a very, scary moment. I would say it was definitely very tedious but as much as you know you're kind of sitting there crossing your fingers shaking a little bit. It was  definitely really exciting to be able to see the people that I knew had made it and the going back and forth between being really excited for them and being nervous and needing them to call your name.  Overall I tried to focus more on being excited than nervous, just so I didn't lose it!

KPQ:  Well, congratulations. It's quite an honor just to make it this far and good luck on selection night.  Look for our next interview with Top 10 Candidate Ava Porter

Read Jenissa Hepton's Full Bio

Jenissa is the daughter of Tiffany and Brad Savage and Jeff and Heather Hepton. Leading with enthusiasm and dedication, Jenissa currently serves as the president of the Wenatchee High School ASB. Additionally, she contributes her energy as a member of the volleyball team and holds the esteemed position of captain for the WHS track and field team. Not only is Jenissa active in sports, but she also devotes her time to the well-being of others as a committed member of the Mental Health Committee. As well as a third-year member of the Wenatchee High Honor Society. Her altruistic spirit extends to her community involvement, where she spends Sundays working in her church's nursery and volunteers at the Real Life youth group. In her spare time, Jenissa indulges in her passion for literature, finding solace in reading and expressing herself through poetry. She also loves finding time to grow both mentally and physically at the gym. Looking towards the future, Jenissa has set her sights on Washington State University, where she plans to pursue a major in primary education.

Jenissa's favorite show is "Gilmore Girls," and she counts "10 Things I Hate About You" as her favorite movie. Music holds a special place in her heart, with "Vienna " by Billy Joel being her favorite song, and her favorite book is "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. Jenissa draws inspiration from her sister, Elizabeth, whose influence has shaped her into the individual she is today. Family and friends hold a special place in her heart, and she cherishes the handmade letters and gifts from her loved ones as her most treasured keepsakes.

Jenissa's favorite thing to do in Wenatchee Valley, besides Apple Blossom, is going to the park to read, under a very specific tree at Walla Walla Park. Her proudest moment in life was winning the state championship with her volleyball team and making Wenatchee history. If Jenissa could trade places with anyone for the day, she would trade places with Skylar Walton, a WHS graduate who now holds track and field records at Washington State University. Jenissa feels she should represent the Wenatchee Valley because she is passionate about creating a positive community for all and aspires to be an uplifting face and voice for Wenatchee, as well as a role model for any community member in need of a little Apple Blossom magic.

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