$7,000 in cash scholarships was awarded to the five participants at
the 53rd annual Miss St. Francis Scholarship Pageant,
held on Saturday, February 4th, 2017, at St. Thomas More HS
Auditorium. Emcee and vocalist for the program was Elyse (Wojciechowski)
Scheeler, Miss St. Francis 2008. Pinch hitting as emcee when
Michelle (Smukowski) Becker fell ill was Andrea (Berndt) Bender,
Miss St. Francis 2006. Special guest vocalists also helped to fill
the void, St. Francis Mayor CoryAnn St. Marie-Carls (Miss St.
Francis 1986) and Tris Withington, Miss St. Francis 1984.
History was made as Kayla and her mother MaryEllen (George) Knuth
are the first mother daughter titleholders for Miss St. Francis.
MaryEllen was Miss St. Francis in 1982.
succeeded Gina Miliacca as Miss St. Francis 2017. Kayla
captured the judges
scores and audience attention with her
performance to “Try
Everything” during the talent
competition. She was
sponsored by the Allied Industries and awarded a $3,000 scholarship
to the school of her choice. Kayla also receives a services package
from From Hair On salon (Ceil Schwalbach, owner), $600
wardrobe allowance, and a Wild Workouts and Wellness gift
package from owner Amber Budahn (Miss St. Francis 1999). Kayla
received the $100 pageant promotion award for selling the most
tickets and was selected by the Miss St. Francis support staff to
receive the $100 Memorial award scholarship. In 2016 Kayla was
First Runner-up to Miss St. Francis.
will represent the St. Francis and surrounding communities at the
Miss Wisconsin Pageant June 11-18, in Oshkosh, WI and at area public
events throughout the year as the St. Francis City Ambassador. Her
chosen personal platform is “Create your own reason. Pay it Forward,
2017 program included a special Princess program for young girls
5-12 years old. Cathy Berndt (mother of Andrea Bender) hosted the
event with assistance from Cecilia Margraff, Miss St. Francis 2013.
The four young ladies were treated to games, special back stage
access, crowned on stage and accompanied the Miss contestants in
their final introduction prior to the awards presentations.
Bittner from St. Francis was named 1st Runner up and
winner of a $1,500 scholarship. Bittner was sponsored by sponsored
by St. Francis Civic Association and was Second Runner-up in 2016.
other contestants were each awarded a $500 scholarship, they were
Morgan Ellis (Milwaukee) sponsored
by PDQ Tooling, Natalie Haberman (St. Francis), sponsored by
Advance Products Co. and Erin Krueger (St. Francis) sponsored by St.
Francis Dental Center.
Krueger was presented with two additional $100 scholarships for most
ad sales and the George P. George Miss Congeniality award voted on
by her fellow contestants.
Duplicate $200 Robert R. Freimuth Non-Finalist Talent Award
scholarships were awarded for the tie in the highest talent score
among non-finalists to Morgan Ellis for her tap dance and to Natalie
Haberman for her comedic monologue. Morgan Ellis also was awarded a
$200 scholarship as the Alyce L. Freimuth Non-Finalist Interview
St. Francis is available to participate in community events and
activities by contacting the Miss St. Francis Scholarship Pageant
Co-Executive Directors, David Goltz or Steve Hecker.