Estee Miller, 2017 Peony Pageant representative from Paulding High School
Estee Miller, 2017 Peony Pageant representative from Paulding High School
OAKWOOD — Estee Miller is no stranger to pageants.

Miller, a senior at Paulding High School and this year’s representative for the Peony Pageant, has competed in four pageants at her hometown of Oakwood’s Labor Day Homecoming, an annual festival that holiday weekend.

“It’s not as involved as the Peony Pageant because there’s no interview,” she said noting that participants just do an on-stage question.

The festival has four different pageants split up into four age divisions: the Little King and Queen Pageant, the Little Miss Pageant, the Junior Miss Pageant and the Miss Pageant. After a participant wins in her age division, she cannot participant in it again.

She won the Junior Miss Pageant, was first runner-up in the Little Miss, second runner-up in Little Queen and Miller won the Miss Pageant her freshman year of high school. Now she organizes the pageant each year.

“I like living in a small community and the small town pageants give you an opportunity to get your name out in the community and gives the community members a way to put names to faces,” she said. “You get to meet a lot of new people.”

Miller wanted to join the Peony Pageant this year for many of the same reasons.

“I’ve always tried to make the most of my high school experience,” she said. “When this opportunity came up, I was eager to apply to be part of it. I was excited to meet girls from area schools and I thought it was a great fit to add to my array of different experiences that I’ve participated in in high school.”

“Being involved is really important to me because you never know when the next great opportunity will be for you to take,” she added. “I’m always eager to seize the opportunity and make the best out of everything.”

Now she feels a stronger connection to the Peony Pageant after learning of a family connection.

“After getting into the pageant, I learned that my great grandma (Alice Lisk) participated in the pageant in the 1940s so it’s more special to me now,” she said. “I think it’s awesome that the pageant has lasted that long and I think it’s great to be part of a great Van Wert tradition.”

Miller plans to attend Bowling Green State University to earn a degree in inclusive early childhood education, which means she would graduate with degree to teach preschool through third grade and a special education degree to teach preschool through third grade.

“Being an educator you really have to be a role model and in the pageant you’re also being a role model,” she said of how the experience of participating in the pageant will help her in her future.

She has also learned that many of the girls are also attending Bowling Green State University so she hopes to continue their friendship after the pageant as well.

“Meeting new people can be nerve-racking, but they’re all really welcoming and I think they’re a great group of girls and it’s been great to grow my friendships outside of school and meet people from the area,” Miller said.