6/17/2014 7:00 AM
By Carol Ann Gregg Western Pa. Correspondent
JACKSON CENTER, Pa. — This school year has been especially busy for Brooke George, a high school junior who is serving as a Pennsylvania alternate dairy princess. The daughter of John and Angie George in Mercer County, Pa., she has one older sister, Samantha.
The family works together at George’s Creekside Dairy in Jackson Center, Pa. Brooke feeds calves as well as milks cows on the dairy farm. Besides her farm chores, school and other activities, Brooke’s life has proved to be very different for the 12 months since the dairy princess pageant.
“I went and talked to the principal at my school as soon as I got back from the state pageant,” Brooke said.
Her principal said that Brooke would be a good representative of her school as she served throughout the coming year as one of the state dairy royalty. The principal only asked that she let them know ahead of time when she would need to miss school. Her teachers were good about getting her assignments so that she could keep up with schoolwork. Brooke doesn’t like to miss school, but during this year she has missed 20 days of school. Sometimes not hearing the lessons in class made the work more difficult, she said, but she was able to keep her grades up.
The only problem was during football cheerleading season when her school, Lakeview Area High School, got into the playoffs. As a cheerleader, when she was going to miss a playoff game, her coach was less than happy not having her on the sidelines. But, she finally accepted that Brooke chose representing the dairy industry and meeting the governor over cheering at the game.
The three young women representing the dairy industry this year include Lu-Ann Antisdel, state princess; the first alternate, Danielle Varner; and Brooke as second alternate. They have become close friends and Brooke is looking forward to when Lu-Ann attends Slippery Rock University, which is near Brooke’s home.
“Being with people who know about what we do on the farm is so nice,” Brooke said. Most of her friends at home are not from farm families, she said.
Participating in the Pennsylvania Farm Show was one of the highlights of her year.
“I really liked talking to the kids that had no farm background,” she said. “I was surprised that they really didn’t know what foods were dairy products.”
The farm show included very long days. After returning to a hotel in the evening, they still had to do their school homework.
Educating people about where their food comes from is important, she said.
“I have met so many people and made a lot of friends,” she said.
Brooke’s mom said that one of the challenges for a dairy princess’s family is that you can’t do anything without checking the calendar. Her dad said being sure she had transportation to all the state events was challenging but that they had many friends and people within the farm community that helped provide transportation.
“We really appreciated all the support,” Brooke’s mom said.
When Brooke was to do a promotion during the Christmas season at the county courthouse, a local farmer picked her up and helped her get inside and then took her to school when she was done.
“We really appreciated things like that,” her mom said.
Brooke loves showing cows. She has about 20 head of mature cows and heifers. The Guernsey line in the herd is from the cow her mom brought to the farm when her parents were married.
“I show for the fun of it,” she said. “I’m not too concerned about getting first place.”
When asked if her herd of cattle were for her college education, she was aghast.
“No, they are part of the family,” she said.
Even though her duties as Mercer County dairy princess ended at the end of May, she is looking forward to participating in the state seminar that provides training for all the county dairy princesses from across the state.
Brooke has learned a lot about Pennsylvania geography over the year.
At the state pageant, she had the winning scrapbook.
“I really appreciate my scrapbook,” she said. “As I look through it, it brings back memories of things we have done. I know that I will enjoy looking at it in the future to remember this year.”