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Finding her roots

8/10/2014

Anna Hand is a dignitary for Fort Hays State University and her heritage.

Anna Hand is a dignitary for Fort Hays State University and her heritage.

The junior from Ellsworth is immersed in leadership roles at the university. The Delta Zeta sorority sister is a Student Government Association senator and majority leader, president of FHSU Young Democrats and vice-president of Kansas Young Democrats.

With half her ancestry tracing back to the Czech Republic, Hand also was the 2013 Miss Czech-Slovak U.S. queen. She earned the honor after previously placing third in the pageant, and she resolved to try again. Her preparation included researching the culture, visiting the country for a conference and traveling 10,000 miles to festivals across the U.S.

Hand traveled another 33,000 miles across the country representing the Czech Republic at events. The position also helped her with a trip to the nation, where she met with friends and family.

The experience made her appreciate the country's resolve after World War II and life during communism, she said. It inspired her to work harder in America to enact progress. Attending FHSU enabled her to get involved and foster relationships with faculty, she said.

"I had always heard just great things about the atmosphere, especially in the classroom, the small class sizes and being able to have a relationship with your professor," she said.

Hand hopes to study food and agriculture law after graduation.

* Matthew Kenwright, HDN