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FOR THE KENOSHA NEWS
With just barely 24 hours since her victory, Laura Marie Kaeppeler of Kenosha is adjusting to being Miss America 2012.
Crowned by outgoing Miss America 2011, Teresa Michelle Scanlan of Gering, Neb., Saturday night, Kaeppeler addressed the media moments after her victory and answered additional questions on Sunday.
She admitted to having long debates and conversations with her family and deciding whether or not to make her father’s jail time for mail fraud as the centerpoint of her pageant platform which she will now use at the national level, titled “Mentoring children of incarcerated parents”.
Her father, Jeffrey W. Kaeppeler also of Kenosha, stood by beaming as his daughter answer dozens of questions by the local and national media after her victory.
This is the second time that a Miss Wisconsin has been named Miss America in the 91-year-history of the pageant.
In September 1972, vocalist Terry Anne Meeuwsen of DePere was named Miss America. Just like with Kaeppeler last Tuesday, Meeuwsen also won a preliminary talent award at Miss America.
She is now living in Virginia and is a co-anchor of the weekday evening Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club show.
“I am thrilled for Laura. Her life will never be the same,” said Meeuwsen on Sunday from her home in Virginia. She was unable to travel to Las Vegas to attend the pageant but watched it on television.
“Laura did a great job competing. She is not only beautiful, but natural, intelligent and a compassionate, meaningful platform. I look forward to meeting her. Laura will have a whirlwind year of opportunity and memories. I send her my heartfelt congratulations and prayers for a fabulous reign”.
Hours after the Miss America pageant, many fans in attendance were not surprised with Kaeppeler’s selection.
“She was very poised and talented and has that true Aloha spirit” said David Nelson, a supporter of Miss Hawaii, Lauren Nicole Kealohilani Cheape, 24, of Miliani, Ohau.
The four runners-up, respectively, were Miss Oklahoma, Betty Janine Thompson, 22, of Davenport; Miss New York, Kaitlin Patricia Monte, 22, of Pittsford, who was the Thursday swimsuit winner; Miss Arizona, Jennifer Sedler, 20, of Chandler; and Miss California, Noelle Hope Freeman, 22, of Carlsbad.
Vocalist and non-finalist talent winner Miss Nebraska, Kayla May Batt, 21, of Alliance, Neb., was voted by the 52 other contestants as Miss Congeniality.
Many family and friends of Kaeppeler cannot wait for Kaeppeler to return home. However, according to Miss America officials, her official homecoming will be weeks, if not months, away.
Kaeppeler had planned to attend the 2012 Miss Kenosha pageant, scheduled for Jan. 28; however, that now appears unlikely.
Kaeppeler now travels to New York City to begin a whirlwind media tour, and she also will get to select a wardrobe for her use during the busy Miss America reign.
Kaeppeler will be a guest on “Good Morning America” on ABC this morning, which will be her first national television interview. She will also make other quest television appearances in the coming week.
Kaeppeler, who is a Green Bay Packers fan, will also be special guest at the 2012 Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.
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