VAN WERT - The 2013 Peony Pageant Committee has announced the judges and master of ceremonies for this year's pageant, which is being held tonight, April 5, at the Marsh Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.
Serving as one judge is Randall Clark, the recently retired music director at New Bremen Local Schools. Clark was the Instrumental Instructor for grades 5-12 for 30 years. He received both his Bachelor of Music Education (1975) and Masters of Music Education (1976) from Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky.While at M.S.U., he received membership in the Pi Kappa Lambda music honorary organization and became a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America of which he is now a lifetime member. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu, ASBDA, MENC and OMEA. The New Bremen "Cardinal" Marching Band under his direction made 23 straight appearances at State Marching Band Finals where they earned 22 consecutive Superior ratings. In Class C this is the longest consecutive streak in State Marching Band Finals history. Turner has been a very active member of OMEA, not only as serving as the State Adjudicated Events Committee chair but as Marching Band Affairs chair, Marching Band Adjudication chair, High School chair, Junior High/Middle School chair and Past Chair positions for 18 years. His other OMEA activities include adjudicator for marching band, solo and ensemble as well as large group adjudicated events. He is presently employed as a tour planner for Noteworthy Tours and as a member of the pro shop staff at Arrowhead Golf Club. He is supported by his wife, Melinda, and their two sons.
Rick Turner is currently the director of adult programs at Apollo Career Center, a position held since July of 2005. Rick has 28 years of experience in providing technical skills training for high school and adult workforce education students. He earned a Masters degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor's degree in vocational education from the University of Toledo. Rick grew up in Wren and is a graduate of Crestview High School and Vantage Career Center. He currently resides in Elida with wife Theresa and three children.
Diana Varno is 32-years-old, she is the owner of the Bridal Emporium in Wapakoneta where she lives with husband Greg. Diana has worked in the bridal industry for the past eight years. In her spare time Varno enjoys boxing and working out at the fitness center. She Also enjoys spending time with her husband and her little Yorkie, Bear.
Lesa Wende resides in Lima with her husband, Jim, and their two daughters, Veronica and Lidija. She has been involved in the pageant world for over 15 years in many different pageant systems. Her daughters have won several awards during those years and in 2009 Veronica was crowned Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen. While her girls were growing up she was a stay at home mom, school volunteer and Girl Scout leader. Lesa is a trained ambassador with Lifeline of Ohio, a chapter of Donate Life and has been volunteering with the Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen Scholarship Program for the last four years. She is currently employed by Macy's and the Hallmark Corporation.
Ed Gebert is the editor at Times Bulletin Media in Van Wert. He was the winner of an Associated Press Award as Best Columnist for his Friday column. Ed has worked at the Times Bulletin since 2006. He is also the pastor of Mt. Victory United Brethren Church on State Line Rd. Gebert has a degree in telecommunications from Ball State University and a Masters degree in Christian Ministry from Huntington University. He spend ten years working in the radio industry and 15 years running the family retail business. Gebert has three children: Devin, a junior at Bowling Green State University; Noah, a freshman at Bowling Green State University; and Aubrey, a fifth grader at Crestview Elementary School.