Queen Jubilee XLIII Madison Pugh crowns Michaella Johnson as Queen Jubilee XLIV on Friday. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Queen Jubilee XLIII Madison Pugh crowns Michaella Johnson as Queen Jubilee XLIV on Friday. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – Van Wert High School’s Michaella Johnson was crowned Queen Jubilee XLIV on Friday during the Peony Pageant held at the Marsh Foundation Auditorium. Spencerville’s Torie Bockey was first runner-up while Crestview’s Chelsea Taylor was second runner-up.

After the pageant, Johnson was overwhelmed with excitement.

“I am so excited; this is an awesome opportunity,” she said. “I am so glad that I got to be a part of it, and I’m absolutely ecstatic.”

Johnson had also won the judged talent portion of the pageant with an original song called “Ghost of My Own.”

“That meant so much to me,” said Johnson of winning with a song she wrote. “That original song was my first, my parents love it, and I’m so glad I got to share it with the community. I’m so, so proud of it.”

Johnson said she is happy that she took a chance and did the Peony Pageant. Her favorite part was the camaraderie with the other girls. She said she is looking forward to attending the Peony Festival and representing her school.

Johnson said she encourages other girls to push their nerves aside and to do the Peony Pageant.

“It’s such a great opportunity,” said Johnson. “You make great friendships, you get to meet people in your community, you get to show off what you’ve done, [and] you get to just be yourself on stage, which is awesome.”

Johnson is the daughter of Demond and Lisa Johnson.

For winning the Queen Jubilee XLIV title, Johnson received a $1,200 scholarship. She plans to attend the University of Mobile, studying Musical Theatre.

Johnson also received a $400 scholarship for winning the talent portion of the pageant and a $250 scholarship for winning the community involvement award.

For winning first runner-up, Bockey, daughter of Doug and Sherry Bockey, received an $800 scholarship.

For winning second runner-up, Taylor, daughter of Darrin and Shanay Taylor received a $600 scholarship.

Paulding High School’s Sydney Price, daughter of Jeff and Wendy Price, received a $100 scholarship for “Most Photogenic” and a $250 scholarship for “Miss Congeniality.”

Other members of the court include Kylie Hohman of Lincolnview, Ashley Dauer of Vantage, Alli McClurg of Delphos Jefferson, Loren Stukey of Parkway, and Skye Stevenson of Delphos St. John’s.

Little flower girls for the evening were Brynlee Balliet, Violet Menke, Bailey Stevenson, Jordyn Brown, Cece Rolfes, Quynn Arend, Kaylee Eickholt, Fiona Verhoff, and Hazel Giessler.

Sean Ford was the Master of Ceremonies, Brody Mills was the crown bearer, Rick Sealscott was the pageant auditor, and Ron Allison controlled the lighting and sound.

Pageant judges included Amy Bromberg, Brenda Burgy, Patrick Kamler, and Vaughn Roste. Preliminary judges included Connie Ainsworth, Stephanie Eding, and Pat Harris.

The escorts/ushers for the evening were Jacob Hauenstein of Lincolnview, Austin Sheets of Crestview, and Jacob Trejo of Van Wert.

This year’s Peony Festival will be held on June 7-9.