On Saturday January 4, 2020 the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke held their annual Grand Colleen Pageant where 15 young women from South Hadley and Holyoke competed to become a finalist for the Holyoke Grand Colleen.
The requirements for application are that the young women must be single (never having been married or had a child), no older than 22 years and no younger than 17 years by March 17, 2020, a resident of either Holyoke or South Hadley, Massachusetts, able to claim Irish ancestry and completion of the resume.
Within the application the young women are asked to outline their major accomplishments in the areas of community involvement, academic awards, special recognition in school, any special hobbies or interests of theirs and their future plans. The day started with the young women being interviewed by the judges, Patricia Griffiths of Wilbraham, a retired Springfield school teacher who volunteers at Glenwood School and provides community service as an active member of the Elks Lodge. William Flaherty, the 2020 West Springfield St. Patrick’s Day Parade Marshal and member of the West Springfield Fire Department for over 31 years. And finally Eileen Sullivan of Westfield, a teacher in Westfield with a masters degree in Special Education from Westfield State University. During this interview portion they are asked questions based off of the resume and application and judged on their intelligence, personality, poise and appearance.
Later in the evening the women are presented on stage escorted by Holyoke Fire Department members and their bios are read while they are judged on their poise and appearance on stage. The judges then met to calculate the combined scores of the morning and evening portions of the event and the top five young women are announced as the 2020 Grand Colleen Finalists.
The 2019 Grand Colleen Lauren Hanna Dulude gave a farewell speech after the intermission where she updated the audience on her year since the Parade and how this experience has changed her. Each of her court members then took to the mic to give their own update on their year since being named a Holyoke Colleen and how magical, wonderful, and special the experience was.
With the scores tabulated the five finalists were announced:
Emily Marie Couture, 18, South Hadley
Patricia Anne Haradon, 18, Holyoke
Natalie Patricia Mayko, 22, Holyoke
Moira Catherine McDermott, 17, South Hadley
Haley Elizabeth Dusseault, 17, South Hadley
The Bonnie Baker award for Ms. Congeniality was also announced who was chosen by the contestants as the young woman who was the more helpful, kind, and personable. The 2020 Ms. Congeniality is Emily Marie Couture.