June 9, 2023

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Updated: August 25, 2022 @ 9:36 am

LINCOLNTON – It was a Lincoln County Apple Queen Scholarship Pageant that went down in history. More than $18,000 in scholarships was awarded and there was a tie for second runner up. This has never happened in the history of the pageant, according to Director Erica Miller. 
The new Lincoln County Apple Queen is Anaia Mayner, a rising sophomore at N.C. State University and a graduate of North Lincoln High School. First runner up Savanna Brooks. The second runner-up tie was shared by Kathryn Burgess and Samantha Cox. Jasmine Campos was the third runner up. The Spirit of Victory award went to Kaitlynn Minter. Mayner won the interview segment with a perfect score. The swimsuit segment went to Jordyn Powers. Jasmine Campos received the evening wear award. Ad sale winner was Abby Morris. Sierra Church won the Apple of My Eye or People’s Choice award which amounted to approximately $18,000, so Church received a $9,126 scholarship. Nina Bollinger won the essay contest. 
When Mayner and her family first moved to Lincoln County about five years ago from Georgia, they went to the Lincoln County Apple Festival. 
“I was so amazed,” she said. “I loved how the community came together as one. They were promoting the spirit of tradition in Lincoln County. I thought to myself, this is something that I want to be a part of.”
Later, Mayner learned of the Apple Queen scholarship pageant. 
“I didn’t think I was much of a pageant girl, but I thought maybe one year I’d try it,” she said. “This year, the Lord really wanted me to step out in faith and do it, so I did. The outcome was pretty good. My mother was so excited when I told her I was going to do it. My dad was the encourager. He told me to just be me. That’s something that I’ve been taught from the time I can remember is to be myself because that’s the way God can be glorified in my life.”
This is the second pageant that Mayner has competed in. The first was the Miss North Lincoln pageant in 2021 which she also won.
“In this pageant, I gained 17 new friends, better confidence and learned new things,” she said. “All of the girls were super sweet. The first day at practice I remember girls coming up to me, telling me their names, where they were from and the schools they’re going to. Erica (Miller), Megan (Recore) and Sarah (Ross) are all so helpful. They continually told us that they were there for us at any hour of the day. They wanted to make it the best experience for us and in my opinion, it was.”
At N.C. State, Mayner is studying human biology. She’s wanted to be a doctor since she was a little girl. 
“I find the human body so fascinating,” she said. “It’s so mysterious. I don’t think anyone’s going to be able to find it out. I only applied to two colleges, N.C. State and Chapel Hill. When I was looking at majors, one thing that intrigued me about N.C. State is that they had the human biology major. Most schools just have a biology major – this one focuses on the human aspects of biology, and I felt like that would help launch me and give me the foundation I’d need for med school.”
Mayner is hoping to practice holistic medicine. She’s particularly fascinated by homeopathy.
For her platform, Mayner wants to make as many appearances as possible in the community with the goal of uniting, both the community and the platforms that her fellow contestants chose. 
“I’m not like the traditional queen who has a specific goal for her platform,” she said. “All of the girls in my court had a specific platform, whether it was helping the veterans, or kids, or something else. I want to do some of each of their platforms. My mission statement is changing one life at a time.”
One of the questions that the interviewers asked Mayner was how she dealt with rude comments when her disabled sister is out in public. When her sister was born, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck cutting off oxygen to her brain which resulted in damage. She now has the mind of a five-year-old.
“She doesn’t really know how to control herself sometimes,” she said. “It’s nothing bad. She may laugh at inopportune times. She’s just happy but a lot of people don’t understand that she has a disability, and they’ll say rude things.”
One way that Mayner has learned to cope with it is to take a moment, step back, breath, analyze the situation, then pray that the Lord helps her. Then she’ll go forward and address the situation.
“I fight for my family, and I don’t want to misrepresent God in any way,” she said. 
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