The Maple Grove Ambassador Scholarship Program (MGASP) has even more reasons to celebrate this year. It was founded in 1999 by Michelene Radulovich and Judy Harding with the goal to create a program to reward young women’s roles in leadership. In honor of its 20th anniversary, we spoke with Gillian Key, director, and her mother, Rebecca Key, associate director.
RK: [Radulovich and Harding] formed opportunities like none other for local women, along with offering educational scholarships …. Many aspects of the program were introduced in the early stages, along with hard work, decision-making and finding financial and sponsor support. Michelene attended many citywide meetings, explaining why a program like this would be a good fit for a fast-growing city like Maple Grove and convincing people this was not a “beauty contest.”
MS: How has the program evolved?
RK: The core concept of the program has had little change throughout the years. Young women learn about focusing on building confidence with public speaking and interviewing skills, enhancing dedication in volunteering and finding pride in representing their city. An educational scholarship is presented to each of the three ambassadors at the end of [her] one-year reign. Those scholarships have grown from $500 to each young woman to $3,000 given today.
MS: How does the program choose ambassadors, and what are the guidelines?
GK: We have a team of three people, who choose the girls. We give them guidelines for choosing the ambassadors, and they go from there. [Ambassadors range between 17–21 years old.] The judges look for good communication skills, community and school involvement and a friendly, welcoming personality. We’re looking for a good representative for Maple Grove.
MS: Tell us about the coronation.
GK: The coronation celebrates the outgoing ambassadors, integrates fun facts about the candidate, sees what they have learned through the candidate experience and recognizes and honors program sponsors and special guests. It’s also a great way to showcase their public speaking skills. [This year’s event is at 7 p.m. July 12 at Maple Grove Senior High.] We welcome family and friends, as well as members of the Lions Club, and anyone else who wants to participate.
Maple Grove Ambassador Program
12951 Weaver Lake Road