2017 Colleen Court Announced


On Saturday January 7th, Holyoke introduced five proud Irish women as the 2017, 63rd annual Grand Colleen finalist. Fifteen women from both Holyoke and South Hadley competed and were escorted out on to the stage by Holyoke firefighters. Of the fifteen, five were selected; Lara McGeer, Rachael Dearman, Margaret Walsh, Caitlyn Hoschtetler, and Maya Birks.

Miss Congeniality and Court member Lara McGeer is a graduate of Holyoke High School and is currently a student at Baypath University. McGeer is a Herald alumni and an honor roll student back in high school. She would like to attend law school and practice as a civil rights lawyer advocating equality.

Rachael Dearman is a graduate of Holyoke High School and is currently a student at the University of Rhode Island. She is a member of the national honor society and hopes to one day be a pediatric nurse.

Margaret Walsh is a graduate of Holyoke High School and currently attends the University of New Hampshire. In high school, she was a member of the national honor society, rising star and apart of the musical. After she graduates college, she would like to volunteer in Thailand or Africa and would like to become a pediatric physician assistant.

Caitlyn Hoschtetler is a graduate of South Hadley High School and currently a student at Our Lady of the Elms. She was a track athlete in high school and hopes to be a mental health nurse practitioner helping military veterans.

Maya Birks is a senior at Holyoke High School and enrolled at Holyoke Community College. She played field hockey all four years and is a stage crew member of the musical. She is a Baystate Health student ambassador and would like to persue a career in nursing.

The five finalist were filled with excitement and awarded Irish themed gifts and gift cards to businesses in Holyoke. Most importantly the Grand Colleen is awarded a trip for two to Ireland, a $500 scholarship, and of course: the crown.

“The pageant was a great experience and I was able to meet so many great girls,” says HHS senior Maya Birks. “I had such a great time and I’m looking forward to all of the exciting events to come.”

The excitement hasn’t ended yet, the Grand Colleen will be chosen on February 18th, at the Log Cabin. The five finalist have an adventurous year coming their way!