Miss Cloquet Bethany Lindberg is moving onBethany Lindberg found out she was the next Miss Cloquet when she was sitting in her Personal Finance class at Cloquet High School and organizers walked in with flowers, a sash and a crown.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Bethany Lindberg found out she was the next Miss Cloquet when she was sitting in her Personal Finance class at Cloquet High School and organizers walked in with flowers, a sash and a crown.
“It was pretty funny because there were mostly boys in that class,” said Lindberg. “They were looking at me pretty funny.”
By the time she crowns her successor during this year’s “Santa’s Home for the Holidays” celebration – “The trick is to get the crown to stay on your head,” she said with a smile – Lindberg will have reigned as Miss Cloquet for nearly two years.
That’s just fine with her, not so much because she loves the limelight – although she is very comfortable making public appearances at everything from car shows to parades to charity events – but more because it was an opportunity to get to know more people from her beloved hometown.
“It’s friendly, and I guess I like knowing most of the people. It’s small enough, you know most people – you’re not like walking around and everyone’s a stranger – yet it’s big enough that not everyone knows everything that’s going on all the time. It’s the perfect-sized town.”
Plus, she said, the whole experience was fun.
“The best part has been the little girls, how they get so excited about it,” the 19-year-old said. “I’d say being a good role model for them is probably the top thing for any Miss Cloquet candidate.”
Born and raised in Cloquet, Lindberg is not one of those young people who can’t wait to leave. In fact, even though she hopes to transfer from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to either the University of Minnesota Duluth or University of Minnesota to study pre-med biology, Lindberg figures she’ll end up living in or near Cloquet.
“I have a huge, huge family and we’re really close,” said Lindberg, whose nuclear family includes her younger brother, Zach, and parents, Bryan and Maureen Lindberg. “I’m talking second and third cousins, too. [Family] is something that’s really important to me and the main reason I wouldn’t want to go too far.”
Having said that, she is open-minded about bigger places.
“I don’t mind big cities,” she said. “I want to experience it for a little while at least. But most of my family lives around here, so I’ll probably end up back here. I like it here.”
What’s not to like, Lindberg said – beautiful scenery, four definite seasons, nice people and plenty of lakes.
“I don’t fish so much now, but I definitely like hanging out at lakes,” she said. “My grandma had a cabin on Island Lake so me and my tons of cousins had tons of fun there. All my best childhood memories come from there.”
Growing up, Lindberg has been surrounded by supportive family members, even if her parents sometimes chuckled at their daughter’s inclination to get involved with all kinds of things they never considered growing up. She competed in Future Problem Solvers and Destination Imagination – both academic team events – when she was at Churchhill Elementary and Cloquet Middle School, and was a cheerleader, student council member and Link Crew volunteer at Cloquet High School.
Link Crew (for those not in the know) is a program at CHS in which upperclassmen help groups of freshmen settle into life at the high school.
“Me and my partner, Austin, had tons of fun with our group,” she said, adding that a lot of talking went on in addition to more celebratory things like eating ice cream. “I think it helps freshmen a lot. They get shown around the school and get to know people so they’re not so nervous.”
Lindberg also played lacrosse on a Duluth team and participated on the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton competitive cheerleading team (now called Twin Ports Elite) when she was in high school. It is the only competitive cheerleading team in this part of the state.
“I usually was the ‘flyer,’” Lindberg said, explaining that the flyer is the person on the top of a cheerleading stunt. “It wasn’t bad because you really learn to trust the girls.”
Lindberg said it was lacrosse, however, that gave her the best workout.
Not a beauty queen
Lacrosse was the only thing anyone ever told Lindberg she “couldn’t” do.
It wasn’t because she was a girl – nor was the nay-saying coming from her parents. It was people stereotyping her as a “preppy girl” because she was a cheerleader.
“That was the only thing someone ever told me I couldn’t do,” she said. “Because lacrosse and cheerleading are like the two most opposite things ever. I proved them wrong though.”
Playing point, which is a defensive position Lindberg described as almost like a second goalie, meant lots of running and being aggressive on the field.
It all started in high school gym class.
“One of my best friends and I had tons of fun playing, but we kept getting in trouble because the teacher said we were being too rough for the girls,” she said. Her friend then signed up for the team in Duluth and encouraged her to play the next year. “I said, ‘Sure.’ It was added onto the 100 other things I was doing, but I’m glad I did it.”
Lindberg isn’t lacking in self-confidence. While she credits many of her activities in school with helping prepare her for being in the spotlight as Miss Cloquet, she credits her parents with instilling a strong spirit of independence as well as
“My parents, grandparents, everyone made sure I knew that no guy, nobody will ever stop you from what you want to do,” she said. “If I want to do something, I’m going to do it because there’s no use letting someone stop you, especially when it comes to goals.”
She decided to interview for Miss Cloquet because she thought it sounded fun and challenging. There was no pageant, no bathing suit or evening gown competition, just a lot of questions from the judges on everything from her background to her hobbies and plans for the future.
Lindberg also didn’t compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant. It wasn’t really a priority, she said.
The spring semester will be Lindberg’s last at FDLTCC. It’s been a great experience, she said, noting the school is more diverse than many in Minnesota.
“I like a lot of the teachers there, and the class sizes are wonderful,” she said, noting that her largest class had 40 students (but only 10 in lab). “You can get one-on-one time with a teacher if you need it. The professors are ready to help you.”
Choosing a community college also saved her lots of money, particularly since she decided halfway through that she’d rather be a doctor than a nurse, her original plan.
“I knew I wanted to do something in medicine, but as I grew in knowledge and definitely liked the classes, I wanted to keep going,” she said, adding that her goal now is to be an anesthesiologist. “I didn’t want to stay in the one place. I like learning, and I feel like I’m too young to have my career set. Ten years of school will be enough to be ready for my career.”
Lindberg is sad and happy at the prospect of ending her time as Miss Cloquet. Mostly happy. She’s excited about the program, which is growing under the sponsorship of the Cloquet Kiwanis Club and the guidance of Reneé Birman.
“It was fun, but I’m glad it’s a new girl’s turn,” Lindberg said. “Whoever gets it will have fun, especially with Reneé. She’s super-helpful. I’m definitely glad she’s the one who decided to take [the Miss Cloquet] program over.”
The admiration is mutual. Birman explained that when the Kiwanis Club more or less resurrected the program, she wanted to get Miss Cloquet more exposure and get her more involved in events across the community.
“I’m active, so I’ve been having Bethany come with me here and there,” Birman said. “I like that she’s just a quality young woman. She’s extremely intelligent, with it, she tutors at the college, she’s very helpful and positive and if she is able to make something, she gives it her all.
“She’s a good kid and a good role model. That’s what we’re looking for.”
She’s looking forward to the rest of her life.