Contestants in the Westfield Sons of Erin Colleen Contest had their knowledge of Irish history put to the test by two judges who call the Emerald Isle their home.

Colleen Contest Features Two Judges from Elms

Mon Mar 4, 2013

Contestants in the Westfield Sons of Erin Colleen Contest had their knowledge of Irish history put to the test by two judges who call the Emerald Isle their home.

Sinead Loughran, an Elms College exchange student from Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, and Ciara Cosgrove, an Elms College Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant from Monaghan, were asked to be judges in this year's Colleen contest.

Sinead and Ciara first learned about the contest when they attended the retirement party of Judy Kappenmann, SSJ, and noticed pictures of past Colleens on the walls. Not knowing what a Colleen was, Sinead prodded for more information.

"Ciara and I were surprised at how 'Irish' it is here and what a big deal St. Patrick's Day is. Even back in Ireland it's not that big of a deal," Sinead said.

Assistant Professor Caroline Murray '97, J.D., knew Westfield was looking for two judges and thought Ciara and Sinead would be perfect.

As judges, Sinead and Ciara had to develop their own questions and score each contestant on their answers. Interviewing all 28 contestants took four hours. Many of the questions pertained to Irish culture and history, so there was no slipping anything by the natives of Tyrone and Monaghan, respectively.

"It was fun. I had never been a judge before. When I told my parents I was judging a contest with two other people they asked who the Simon Cowell of the group was," Sinead said.

Although no one took on the cranky persona of the former American Idol judge, they all had fun choosing the Grand Colleen and her court.

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