Heritage student named fair queen

Gracyn Allen is keeping her crown in a special display box in her bedroom.

“Where I can look at it all the time,” Allen said.
Allen, a 17-year-old Heritage senior, was named Miss Champaign County Fair
Queen last Sunday.
She beat out six other young women to win the crown.
“I was so surprised and overwhelmed with happiness,” said Allen, the
daughter of Greg and Tami Allen of Homer. “It is a moment I will never
Allen’s family was delighted as well.
“My family and friends all jumped up and started making their way to the
stage,” Allen said. “They were so excited for me and proud because they
knew how hard I had worked the past month preparing for the pageant.”
Allen said the most challenging part of the pageant was overcoming her
fear of public speaking in order to recite her speech.
“Once I recited it I was so proud of myself and I will never forget that
moment,” she said. “I learned I can do anything if I set my mind to it. I
had to come out of my comfort zone in order to get up and speak in front
of 500 people which is something I never thought I would be able to do two
months ago.”
Allen said she decided to enter the pageant after speaking to 2017 Queen
Claire Smith.
Smith encouraged Allen to enter the pageant to get her out of her comfort
zone and try something new.
“I thought I would be a good person to represent agriculture and show how
important it is to our county,” Allen said.
Allen, a member of the Heritage volleyball and softball teams, is also
active in the Heritage FFA.
“I believe in the future of agriculture,” she said. “I have developed an
interest in agriculture, just like my grandpa, my dad and my two brothers
have. Growing up in the country I watched my dad and brothers apply
fertilizer to fields, and I watched farmers harvest and plant their
She said that she originally never pictured herself pursing a career in
“But after attending many FFA events, I realized there is so much more to
the agriculture industry than just farming. There’s animal science,
business, communication and education. Now, I not only understand the
future of agriculture, but I believe in my future in the agriculture
Allen said having the fair queen come from a smaller school shows that
small or large, every school in Champaign county is just as important and
able to represent the county.
“My favorite part about attending Heritage is how everyone knows everyone
and how supportive all of the students and teachers are. After I won, so
many people told me congratulations and how proud of me they were and that
was a great feeling,” Allen said.
After she graduates from Heritage, Allen plans to study either
agricultural business or nursing at the University of Illinois.


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