Peony Festival Queen Jubilee XLIV Michaella Johnson sang the National Anthem at a recent airport event. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Peony Festival Queen Jubilee XLIV Michaella Johnson sang the National Anthem at a recent airport event. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – When Peony Festival Queen Jubilee XLIV Michaella Johnson stood in front of a flag brigade and a large audience of people to sing the National Anthem at the recent renaming of the Van Wert County Airport, she realized to the core of her heart what had happened when she was elected this year’s festival queen.

“I realized how much I love this community and what I am doing,” said Johnson. “I loved the airport event; I love our community and I love getting out and seeing what all is going on around Van Wert.”

“I’m really excited about the Peony Festival this weekend,” continued Johnson. “I’m looking forward to meeting all of the people and learning more about Van Wert. I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of Van Wert and the Peony Festival.”

This year won’t be the first time she was in the Peony Parade. The last four years she has marched in the event as a member of the Van Wert High School Marching Band.

“I see this as a great opportunity,” observed Johnson. “I am glad that I get to be a role model for the kids. I am honored to be chosen for this.”

“It’s crazy; God’s grace got me here. I love having the opportunity to show His love,” added Johnson.

As an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, Johnson has traveled on mission trips to such destinations as Haiti, Toledo, Tennessee, St. Louis, Alabama and Florida. She currently works at Pizza Hut and babysits. In her spare time, she enjoys singing and playing the piano.

“First United Methodist Church does a lot of mission trips,” said Johnson. “My parents (Demond and Lisa Johnson) are active there. We love reaching out to others.”

“Haiti was a real eye-opener for me,” continued Johnson. “There was poverty everywhere. I’ve never seen a skinny cow but in Haiti all of the animals are so small. The people there are so awesome. Their faith is so much greater than mine. When they go to church, they have no time limit. They just love to worship God.”

In school, Johnson was the president of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club and a Beta Club Officer. She served as field commander for the marching band, where she played the trumpet. She also served as captain of the soccer team and was active in school and Van Wert Civic Theater events. In addition, she is involved with Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks.

Johnson is looking forward to attending the University of Mobile, a Christian based college and study music and drama.

“A lot of my dad’s family lives in that area,” said Johnson. “I’m looking forward to spending some time with them.”