Coal Queen ready to pass the crown
Ashley Avolio, 2012 Coal Queen, will crown this year’s queen at the 60th Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Queen Pageant Sunday at the Carmichaels Area High School Auditorium. Avolio said her experiences as Coal Queen were some of the most memorable moments of her life.
Inspiration can begin with the smallest idea, experience or situation. For Ashley Avolio ,it began with friendships and dance.
For 13 years, Avolio has been deeply involved in the Moschetta’s Performing Arts Center. Over the years, she created bonds with her dancing partners and ended up attending Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Queen Pageants to support her fellow dancers.
“There were a lot of girls who I danced with who did the competition, and over the years they inspired me,” said Avolio, a Trinity High School graduate.
Before she knew it, Avolio was beginning the process to become Coal Queen, with many supporters by her side.
“My mom and dad, first and foremost, have always been my biggest supporters,” said Avolio. “They have always supported me and guided me.”
She also gained her confidence and grace from her dance teachers at the Moschetta Performing Arts Center.
After the process began, Avolio found herself surprised by the friendly environment. She became good friends with a lot of the girls she was competing with, and was happy that it was not a cutthroat environment.
“I love the relationships I developed with the other girls. I never expected it to be so friendly,” she said.
When the competition finally came and Avolio heard her name called last August as the next Coal Queen, it didn’t really sink in.
“My first thought was disbelief,” said Avolio, laughing. “But then it was just overwhelming joy and happiness.”
Since then, Avolio has spent a whole year as the Coal Queen and has completed many of the duties that come with the position.
“The whole experience has been so memorable; it truly has changed my life,” she said.
One of her favorite experiences was visiting the Emerald Mine, where she was shown and taught how the mining operation works.
“It was more than I thought it would be,” said Avolio. “They actually let me work some of the machines and I got to keep the coal I mined.”
Another life-changing experience was when she got to meet Gov. Tom Corbett.
The past year has been filled with many opportunities and great memories Avolio will hold onto for the rest of her life, but the time has come for her to pass on her crown Sunday during the 60th Pennsylvania Bituminous Coal Queen Pageant at Carmichaels Area High School auditorium.
“I’m sad. I really enjoyed this past year and I don’t want to give it up,” she said.
She recently met the girls competing to take her place at an outing. Avolio was once again pleasantly surprised by how friendly and kind all the girls were, which is making it easier for her to pass on the crown.
While Avolio is hesitant to give up her crown, she is excited for another girl to begin the wonderful experience.
Her advice to the girls competing this year and to others who may be interested in the future is “to be yourself and to have fun.”
Avolio’s future plans are to attend Penn State University’s main campus, major in special education and minor in dance.