UWO students take home awards at Miss Oshkosh

Christina Basken, Assistant News Editor

UW Oshkosh students Jamie Karlic, Alyssa Menzel, Whitney Klas, Caroline Baier and Kailyn DeBlaey competed in the Miss Oshkosh Scholarship Pageant on Saturday.

Menzel won the Miss Congeniality Award, Karlic was the third runner-up and received a scholarship for having the highest interview score, DeBlaey was the fourth runner-up and Baier was the non-finalist talent winner.

According to Susan Geffers, co-chair of the Miss Oshkosh Scholarship Pageant, over $11,000 was given out in scholarship money at the pageant.
“The Miss America organization is the largest provider of scholarships to women in the United States,” Geffers said.

The contestants competed in lifestyle, fitness and swimwear, talent, on-stage questions and presence and poise in evening wear. The women also participated in a ten-minute interview in front of five judges.

Geffers said the theme of the pageant, “Soaring to new heights,” was chosen to honor EAA.

“It was a two-fold theme; we wanted to honor EAA because of the impact they have on our community and we also wanted to show that women can soar to new heights,” Geffers said.

Klas said she has been competing in Miss Oshkosh since 2015. She enjoys being able to promote Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“I love the Miss Oshkosh organization because it empowers women and gives women a voice in society,” Klas said. “We are able to talk about topics that we hold close to our hearts and get to promote the national platform of Miss America, which is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.”

Geffers said the experience women receive from the pageant will help them increase their chances of landing the jobs they want after college.

“These girls, because of the appearances they do and their opportunity to speak about their personal platform, they become such poised and confident and well-spoken young ladies that I have no doubt they nail their interviews when it’s time to look for jobs,” Geffers said.

Klas said Miss Oshkosh is more than just a beauty contest.

“In today’s society there unfortunately is a common stigma that correlates with pageants,” Klas said. “Pageants are so much more than a beauty contest. Many individuals are unaware that contestants have to perform a talent, promote their platform which is something of importance to them and have to be well-educated and up-to-date on current events.”

DeBlaey said this is her first time competing in a pageant. She chose to participate because Miss Oshkosh helps her to push herself toward her goals.

“As students, we are all at a very pivotal point in our development and education,” DeBlaey said. “By competing in a pageant that has success as a core value for each titleholder, we are pushed further to study hard and incorporate our knowledge into everyday use.”