The 2020 Peony Pageant, originally scheduled for April 3, had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to crown a queen and award scholarships, the contestants will be competing virtually this year and will be scored by a panel of judges. Queen Jubilee XLV will be crowned at a later date, to be announced and will represent the local community.
The candidates have the special honor of already representing their schools by being selected to take part in the pageant. Each year the Peony Festival Pageant Committee sends area schools in Van Wert, Paulding, Mercer, Allen, and Putnam Counties applications to submit one senior candidate to represent their school in the pageant. Every school’s selection process is different, but all selections of candidates are made by the area schools.
Once all candidates have been submitted to the Pageant Committee the candidates are scored on a preliminary essay and preliminary interview conducted by a panel of three judges. This took place in person on March 12, 2020. Additionally, this year’s contestants will submit a video recorded talent performance and be asked a live question on a virtual platform. This will be scored by a separate panel of four judges who were originally going to judge the night of the pageant.
All scoring is confidential and maintained by the pageant auditor Rick Sealscott, CPA. Candidates are also competing for a scholarship paid directly to the college of choice which includes Queen Scholarship $1200, 1st runner up $800, 2nd runner up $600, talent winner scholarship $400, Miss Congeniality $250, and Community Involvement $250.
Candidates competing for the title this year are...
Tori Buggert, representing Spencerville High School, is the daughter of Kirk and Kerri Buggert. She has two siblings, Halie and Trent. She is a member of the Student Council, FFA, and Spanish Club. She is a football and basketball cheerleader. She has participated in Make a Difference Day where she helped in the Spencerville community. She volunteers reading to children in the public library and her family adopts a family at Christmas. She works at Kohl’s Department Store. She has cheered her whole life and also enjoys traveling, running, and helping her Dad in the barn with the family’s chickens, ducks, and pigs. After graduation, Tori plans on attending The Ohio State University at Lima, majoring in Social Work. She is proud to represent Spencerville in the Peony Pageant and would like to show girls in other communities that anything can be achieved with the right mindset and a positive attitude.
Katie Strayer, representing Paulding High School, is the daughter of Matt and Suzy Strayer. She has an older brother, Steven. She participates in varsity volleyball, varsity basketball, and varsity track and field. She is the president of the senior class. She is a member of the National Honor Society where she was elected community representative. She is a member of the varsity quiz bowl team and is involved with Ohio Model United Nations. She is a member of the drama department and played the role of Captain John McIntyre in M*A*S*H and Frenchie in Grease. She works in the concession stand at the Paulding ball field. She is a member of the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Paulding where participates in the youth group, is the youth representative on the board, and has attended church camp at Camp Christian.
In her spare time, she enjoys crafting and DIY projects. She is artistic and loves painting, drawing, creative writing, and poetry. She also enjoys cheering on the Panthers in the student section at sporting events. After graduation, Katie plans on attending The Ohio State University majoring in Nursing. When asked why she wanted to be in the pageant she stated that confidence was something that she struggled with growing up, so being on a stage in front of a crowd seemed daunting. However, she has recently come into her own and is excited to be herself and be an example to others.
Kiersten Roehm, representing Parkway High School, is the daughter of Rick and Cary Roehm. She has a sister, Raegan. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the National FFA Organization, Parkway marching band and concert band. She is the president of her 4-H club. She is a Red Cross blood donor and participates in PALS at Parkway Elementary. She attends St. Mark’s Lutheran Church where she is a member of the youth group and helps with Operation Christmas Child and the Linus Blanket Project. She works at School House Farms 1862.
In her spare time, she enjoys being a vocalist at Fisher Music Studio. After graduation, she plans to attend The Ohio State University at Lima, majoring in School Psychology. She wanted to be in the pageant and crowned Queen Jubilee because it is an opportunity to become well acquainted with the public and earn scholarship money for college.
Jill Gemmer, representing Van Wert High School, is the daughter of Jean Gemmer and the late Thomas Gemmer. In school, she is a member of the Choir, FCA, and the Varsity Club service club for athletics. She is a Junior Rotarian. She also participates in Volleyball and Track and Field. She attends St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church where she is a member of the youth group. She is a Van Wert Main Street Junior Ambassador and donates to the Pregnancy Life Center. She works at Greve Chrysler and with Plan on Jules special occasion decorating. She also babysits. In her spare time she enjoys working out, watching movies, hiking, arts, crafts, drawing, and doing makeup. She has an appointment to attend The United States Air Force Academy after graduation. She wants to be crowned Queen Jubilee because of the connection she has with the flower itself. After her father passed the family had a Peony bush in their yard that bloomed after being dormant for 13 years. She wants to represent her school and community with pride and honor!
Aleigh Chesbro, representing Crestview High School, is the daughter of Amanda and the late Mike Chesbro. She has four siblings, Halie, Darrius, Dorian, and Draven. Aleigh is a member of the Knight’s basketball and softball teams. She is vice president of the FFA, Senior class treasurer, and is on the Student Council. She participates in the CEO program where she works with the 4th grade Special Education Class at Van Wert Elementary. She is also a Junior Rotarian. She is a member of Pioneer Christian Ministries where she participates in the youth group.
In her spare time, she enjoys attending sporting events and FFA leadership conventions. She also enjoys hanging out with her friends and family. After graduation, she plans on attending Ball State University majoring in Special Education or Early Childhood Education. She is excited to represent Crestview in the pageant because it gets her involved in the community and helps empower her personality and how she is as a person.
Victoria Snyder, representing Lincolnview High School, is the daughter of Jeff and Stacey Snyder. She has four siblings, Colton, Madeline, Olivia, and Willow. In school, Victoria is a member of the varsity cross country team, varsity track team, and indoor track team. She is a member of the National Honor Society where she serves as the historian and is secretary of the Student Council. She is also involved in BETA club, Spanish club, and is president of the Spirit Squad and vice president of FFA. She attends Bethany United Methodist Church in Celina where she is part of the youth group. She works at True North Hog Farm.
In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, agriculture, and spending time with family. After graduation, she plans to attend The Ohio State University majoring in Livestock Management with a specialization in Swine. She wanted to be in the pageant to be a role model for all the little girls in the community. She is beyond proud to be a Lincolnview Lancer therefore, given the opportunity to represent her school was a goal for her. She has always dreamt of being in the pageant and running for Queen Jubilee. She is ready to do it the Lancer Way!
Original article courtesy of Times Bulletin