If you were to tell 19-year-old Katelyn Martin one year ago that she would be crowned fair queen, she wouldn’t have believed you.

A year ago, Martin was diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia and depression. She was in and out of hospitals. She dropped out of high school, missing her junior and senior years.

But now she is in recovery. She received her diploma through the Brown County Career Resource Center and plans to attend Ivy Tech to become a laboratory technician.

Through her struggles, Martin has gained strength and confidence that she now wants to share with other young women.

Wearing this year’s fair queen crown she hopes will allow her to do just that.

“I feel like I’ve turned my life around in a year’s time, and I feel like a lot of girls don’t come back from as low as I was. The fact that I did, I feel like I can be an encouragement to young women that I know are going through the same kind of problems,” she said.

Martin was one of nine girls who competed for the crown July 31. This year’s Miss Congeniality was Gabrielle Steenberger. Haley Sichting was named second runner-up while Elisabeth Huls took the first runner-up title.

As winners were being announced, Martin told herself she hadn’t placed.

“They called second runner-up, first runner-up and I was so happy for them, and Miss Congeniality and all of that, and I was like, ‘Who’s going to get queen if it wasn’t Elisabeth (Huls)?’ I was like, ‘Who is it?’ Then they said me, and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’”

This was Martin’s first time participating in any Brown County Fair event. She hadn’t even set foot on a pageant stage before Sunday night.

Her mother and father, Kathy and Jason Martin, are proud of their daughter and the turnaround she has made.

“She’s had a really rough year, and for her to even put herself out there and do this was an amazing step for us to see,” Kathy Martin said. “She was willing to go out and do it. As her mother, I was hoping she’d win something, anything, but I never expected this.”

Martin extended thanks to her parents, and Allison Watters, Gerri Conboy and two people who look up to her as a role model now: Her two little sisters. “I’m proud of them for everything that they’ve been through … and that I hope they can follow in my footsteps,” she said.

2016 Brown County Fair Queen Court

First runner-up: Elisabeth Huls

Second runner-up: Haley Sichting

Miss Congeniality: Gabrielle Steenberger

2016 Brown County Fair Queen Bios

The 2016 Brown County Fair queen was crowned Sunday night before a packed crowd. These were the contestants:

Delaney Bond

Age: 17

Parents: Brad and DeAnna Bond

Student at: Brown County High School, 11th grade

Plans: To attend the University of Southern Indiana and become a dental hygienist

Organizations and activities: Honor roll, volleyball team, student council secretary, Spanish Club, participant in the C4 Dental Careers program through Ivy Tech, Nashville Christian Church member, 4-H member, working at Carol’s Crafts

Favorite quote: “Life is better when you’re laughing.”

Madison Fields

Age: 17

Parents: Annette and Tim Fields

Student at: Brown County High School, 11th grade

Plans: Considering attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to study environmental science. Would eventually like to pursue a degree in environmental law to assist nonprofit organizations

Organizations and activities: Interact Club charter member, AP Scholar, soccer team, track team, high school and competitive cheerleader, Youth Leadership of Brown County, community volunteer, mission trip volunteer, Fuzion Athletics travel team, 4-H, working at Abe Martin Lodge in the Brown County State Park. Enjoys traveling, photography, cake decorating and raising animals

Favorite quote: “Be the best you can be and everything else will fall into place.”

Elizabeth Meta Huls

Age: 17

Parents: Johanna Weinzapfel and Luke Allen Huls

Student at: Brown County High School, 11th grade

Plans: To attend Butler University for undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry with a minor in Spanish, and to attend Indiana University Medical School specializing in pediatric gastroenterology and hopefully work for Riley Hospital

Organizations and activities: Class president for two years, student council president, Spanish Honor Society, Dance Marathon founding team member, captain of science academic team, state qualifier for the ISEF science fair, National Honor Society, National History Day qualifier for national competition, varsity volleyball and tennis teams, boys basketball team manager, co-president of prom committee, Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer, working at That Sandwich Place and Dr. Curt Lively’s evolutionary biology lab at Indiana University. Enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with pets and learning to cook and bake

Favorite quote: “Do your best. No more, no less.” — Coach Roger Fleetwood

Katelyn Nicole Martin

Age: 19

Parents: Jason and Kathy Martin

Student at: Brown County Career Resource Center

Plans: To attend Ivy Tech to earn an associate of applied science degree to become a laboratory technician

Organizations and activities: Choir member, National History Day participant, National Diabetes Association member, vacation Bible school volunteer at New Life Community Church. Enjoys coloring, crafting, caring for babies, cooking and artistic things

Favorite quote: “It matters not what someone is born, but that they grow up to be.” — J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

Lacey Ross

Age: 19

Parents: Kim and Mary Ross

Student at: Paul Mitchell the School in Indianapolis, studying cosmetology. Brown County High School graduate

Plans: Would like to open own salon

Organizations and activities: Former 4-H Horse and Pony Club, former varsity softball player, former varsity cheerleader. Currently on student council, John Paul Pet Club and design team. Hobbies include riding horses and fishing. Works as a home health aide for Home Helpers during the week and on Sundays at the Brown County Dragway

Favorite quote: “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. Focus and keep going.”

Haley Sichting

Age: 18

Parents: Angie Haler and Scott Sichting

Student at: Indiana State University studying nursing. Indian Creek High School graduate

Plans: Attend Indiana State University to become a neonatal nurse to help and change the lives of families and their children. Believes everyone deserves a chance at life

Organizations and activities: National Honor Society, winter guard and color guard, track and field team, Spanish Club, show choir, 4-H, president of Swine Club, vice president of Cow Club, working at a Girl Scout camp and at a daycare

Favorite quote: “Don’t let the world change your smile; let your smile change the world.”

Lacey Lynn Sichting

Age: 16

Parents: Jennifer Parker and Jamie Sichting

Student at: Indian Creek High School, 10th grade

Plans: To attend C9 veterinarian program junior and senior years, then attend Purdue University to study agriculture and become a veterinarian assistant

Organizations and activities: Champions Together, winter guard, choir, FFA, livestock judge, forestry/soil judge, 4-H, president of sheep and cow clubs, vice president of Swine Club

Favorite quote: “Every pro was an amateur, every expert was once a beginner, so dream big and start now.”

Gabrielle Steenberger

Age: 19

Parents: Glen and Maria Steenberger

Student at: Indiana University studying media production with a concentration in film and minors in music and Spanish. Bloomington High School South graduate

Plans: To finish undergraduate degree and begin creating music videos and recording musicians. After settling into career, would like to raise a family and settle down in Brown County

Organizations and activities: IU Swing Dance Club, South Central Indiana Blues Society, Hudson and Holland Scholar, working as a stagehand at IU’s Opera and Ballet Theater, violinist for 14 years, ballroom and social dancer. Enjoys babysitting, reading, volunteering at IU’s Latino Cultural Center and playing music with her band The Boxcar Annies

Favorite quote: “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” — Buddhist proverb

Jessica Taylor

Age: 16

Grandparents: Debbie and Gary Havely

Student at: Brown County High School, 10th grade

Plans: To attend Ball State University or Indiana University to study broadcasting

Organizations and activities: Varsity girls golf, marching band, concert band, color guard, winter guard, yearbook staff, tennis team, theater, Peers Project, 4-H, St. Agnes vacation Bible school volunteer, community service volunteer at Nazareth Farm, 4-H camp counselor

Favorite quote: “Once I got into space, I was feeling very comfortable in the universe. I felt like I had a right to be anywhere in this universe, that I belonged here as much as any speck of stardust, any comet, any planet.” — Mae C. Jemison