Cary Talents Noted Across the Region & Country

Cary, NC — On occasion, we receive submissions that highlight a Cary resident who has been recognized at a regional or even national level for an achievement showing their artistic prowess, their business savvy or a first place finish.

Here’s a roundup of those Cary residents and their latest newsworthy feats.

Sonia Daptardar

Cary Girl Crowned Miss North Carolina Preteen in International United Miss Pageant

Sonia Daptardar, 12, was recently crowned Miss North Carolina Pre-Teen with International United Miss Pageant. The competition was held on January 15th in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The International United Miss Pageant system is a scholarship-style pageant system that aims to celebrate girls and women for their amazing accomplishments. They help foster a positive self-image while encouraging girls to be involved in their local communities and give back to society.

“We got me meet so many girls from different backgrounds, from all over North Carolina,  make new friends and learn new skills to achieve our personal goals,” said Sonia.

Sonia’s community involvement is extensive. She makes food bags for a homeless shelter in Raleigh through a local non-profit, donates books & school supplies to different organizations, and she also donated hygiene kits for families affected by the pandemic. Plus, she makes storytelling and reading videos for young children through her own initiative called “Seeds of Reading.”

She advances to the Internationals in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this summer and her goal is to fight hunger and spread the joys of reading in young children.

A seventh-grader at Mills Park Middle School, Cary Sonia was humbled when she was crowned.

“It was a dream come true. I know it is a responsibility more than the crown and title, and I’ll try my best to fulfill it,” she said.

Russ Brandon

Cary Teacher Authors Story on the 1988 Fires in Yellowstone Park

In a recent book, Cary resident Russ Brandon tells the adventure fiction story of three hikers and a park ranger in the forest of Yellowstone Park during the largest wildfire in U.S. Park history. Throughout the story, these lost souls search for a path out of the burning wilderness in order to get the second chance they hope for.

Brandon shares the following in a longer blurb of the book’s plot:

“There’s no better place to relax and renew yourself than a peaceful place like Yellowstone National Park, right? That’s why Sal, Cornelius, and Pioneer found themselves camped in the woods near Heart Lake overnight.

Surrounded by enough nature to enlighten and inspire them, they could not hope for a better place to be. Neither could Ranger Vicky, who hiked to the backcountry with her dog, for her final set of dissertation data. Except when a prolonged drought desiccated the forest, then lightning ignites all that dry wood, and the park service is up against the largest natural forest fire in their history. Now America’s beloved icon is up in flames.

Superintendent Duka begins an all-out campaign to stop the park from burning to ash. Ranger Keezheekoni builds a risky firebreak, smokejumpers attempt to save valuable timber, and they protect a remote park service cabin from destruction. Unfortunately, these firefighting heroes find they are up against unpredictable life-threatening obstacles as Sal, Cornelius, Pioneer, and Vicky are lost, desperately looking for a way out.”

The book, “Holy Smoke: Trapped by Hellfire” is available now on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition.

Mary Ritter

Art Quilts help burst through COVID-19 pandemic isolation with inspiration

Mary A. Ritter of Cary has had a work of hers selected for a juried Gallery of Art Quilts from artists all over North Carolina and Virignia. Her quilt is one of 32 juried pieces in the “Let the Sunshine In!,” virtual and in-person gallery exhibition.

With so many individuals struggling with isolation and craving for positive words and images, this exhibition was designed to allow viewers to commiserate and celebrate with the artists.

Ritter’s entry, called “Tropical Sunshine,” is included in the online exhibition that is now open and will be shown in gallery shows soon. “Let the Sunshine In” exhibit is scheduled for exhibition at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, VA, October 25 – December 24, 2022. Other venues are currently being negotiated.

Know of More Cary Talents?

Please email [email protected] with any other bits of news that showcase hometown talents being recognized around the state, country and world.

Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos courtesy of Russ Brandon, Amruta Paranjpe and Jenny Ballou.

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