North Branch Ambassador named Aquatennial queen

North Branch’s Elise Toussaint smiles at the crowd after being crowned Queen of the Lakes at the 2019 Minneapolis Aquatennial. 

North Branch Ambassador Elise Toussaint was named the 2020 Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes at the annual coronation on Saturday, July 27. 

She was chosen out of 52 candidates in the program. Jennifer Anderson, of Lakeville, and Erin Westlund, of Hutchinson, were named Aquatennial Princesses.

“Honestly, I didn’t know it was me until everyone started to hug and jump on top of me,” Toussaint said of the moment her name was called. “All I could see was the floor and toes! I was in complete shock. It was one of those moments where I could feel the positive energy from the other great girls and the crowd, which was really special.” 

Toussaint is a student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She is in the University Honors Program and is a member of the Black Student Union. She plans to apply to medical school, with hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist or obstetrics-gynecologist. 

Toussaint volunteers with Nike in a program that encourages children to be active, and she will be volunteering regularly at a clinic. 

Her personal goal is “to do something to further someone’s success everyday,” she said. 

About her upcoming year of appearances as the reigning Queen, Toussaint said, “I’m looking forward to visiting the other Minnesota festivals and being able to learn more about their communities. But then also traveling out of state to represent this great state and the Minneapolis Aquatennial community.”

The selection team for the Aquatennial Ambassador program considered a variety of criteria including: professionalism, public speaking ability, current and future goals, education and co-curricular/extracurricular activities. 

In addition to the interview process, candidates also participated in leadership and personal development and other unique experiences throughout the week. These experiences included visiting Minneapolis hallmarks like The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and taking a Mississippi River boat cruise.

On Thursday, July 25, the Aquatennial Commodore and Captains were revealed: Dr. Robert Schroeder, of Schroeder Fire, will serve as Commodore; Alexx Smith, of Zeller Realty, and Dr. Stephen Zins with LS Investments, LLC will be Captains. 

The Commodore and Captains serve as official escorts and mentors for the Queen of the Lakes and Princesses throughout the year.

The Aquatennial Ambassador Organization (AAO) has been a pioneering organization in building partnerships and relationships with the Minneapolis Aquatennial, city of Minneapolis and local communities throughout Minnesota since 1940. Its Ambassadors serve as positive role models by making over 250 public appearances every year. 

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