Michaella Johnson, 2019 Peony Pageant representative from Van Wert High School.
Michaella Johnson, 2019 Peony Pageant representative from Van Wert High School.

VAN WERT – Michaella Johnson was encouraged by her mother to apply for the Peony Pageant after she saw Van Wert was accepting applications. Johnson is Van Wert's 2019 Peony Pageant representative and is excited to try the new experiences that come with being on the Peony Court.

"I've always kinda wanted to be in a pageant; I always thought it was very interesting and would be a really fun experience to be on stage performing," said Johnson. "I always looked up to the Peony Court. Seeing them at the Peony Parade every year was awesome. I wanted to wear a dress and be in the parade; it just looked like a lot of fun."

Johnson said the whole event has allowed her to learn a lot of different skills, learn about the history of the festival, and to make new friends.

"I've learned more about our Peony Festival," said Johnson who noted she has watched many educational videos on the history of the festival. "I've also learned more about these wonderful girls that I've gotten the privilege to know. They're all so very nice."

Johnson said she is proud to be representing her school and has even coordinated her dress to show her pride.

"I'm really excited to represent my school," she said. "I want to show what we're all about and show my Cougar pride especially since I'm not going to be a Cougar much longer."

At Van Wert, Johnson holds titles in several programs including president of National Honor Society, Beta Club officer, and president of Spanish Club. In the fall, Johnson played soccer and was a marching band field commander. Currently, she is looking forward to the upcoming spring musical, Seussical the Musical, which will hit the NPAC stage on April 11. Johnson also takes several AP classes and is involved in dance at Kim Hohman's DanceWorks.

During the 2018 CHP Ohio Has Talent, Johnson and her younger brother Dru won first place. She said performing on stage like that is something she is passionate about.

After high school, Johnson will be moving to Alabama to attend the University of Mobile to get a bachelor's of fine arts in musical theatre. She hopes to make a career of performing on a stage.

"Broadway is a pretty big dream, but I would just love to be able to travel while performing, acting, singing for the world," said Johnson. "It would be amazing for me to be in a traveling show in Chicago or New York."

Johnson said the Peony Pageant is a great experience that has allowed her to know more about the community. She said she is proud to be a part of a major community event that has been around since 1932.

"The Peony Pageant is an amazing experience," said Johnson. "You get to know more about the community; you get to know more about girls from other schools. I knew nobody from other schools but now I know them, and I feel a little more connected with my community."

Johnson is the daughter of Demond and Lisa Johnson. She has three younger siblings, Dru, Macy, and Meah.

Tickets for this year’s pageant are on sale now at Touches of Time Antique Mall, 120 S. Washington St. in Van Wert. The mall is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon - 4 p.m. on Sunday. The price per ticket is $10.

The pageant will be held on Friday, April 5 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Marsh Foundation. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event.