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Two young pageant winners show Kewaunee County at its best

One Step Closer to Miss America
photo courtesy of Miss Green Bay Area Pageant

Two young women, both from Kewaunee, beat their competition on January 4, 2014 at Green Bay's Bay Port High School, earning crowns in the Miss Green Bay Area Pageant and the Miss Green Bay Area's Outstanding Teen Pageant.
Karlee Nimmer, our new Miss Green Bay Area titleholder, won $1,000 and will compete in the Miss Wisconsin Pageant in Oshkosh on June 21. If she wins there, she will be on her way to compete in the Miss America Pageant. Paige Kassner, a sophomore at Kewaunee High School, won a $250 award, was crowned Miss Green Bay Area's Outstanding Teen, and could advance to Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition.
A student at UW-Whitewater and a graduate of Kewaunee High School, Nimmer has her sights set on becoming an ESPN Sports Commentator. She is currently the first executive producer of sports at UWWTV, UW-Whitewater's television station. Nimmer performed Ain't Misbehavin' at the pageant, a classic standard sung by many notable artists, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Kassner is a sophomore at Kewaunee High School and her career goal is to become a neurologist. Besides her studies and sports participation, the Honors Student also works part-time as a waitress. She is also a Door County Daily News student correspondent. At the pageant, Kassner displayed her talent by performing a jazz dance routine to "Big Noise from Winnetka".
"I competed in my first pageant, National American Miss, when I was 11, although it was nothing like the youth pageants you see on television like Toddlers & Tiaras or Honey Boo-boo. There is a whole side to pageantry the country doesn’t see-- natural youth pageants," Nimmer said. "These pageants, like National American Miss, focus on inner beauty, gaining self-confidence, interview skills, and public speaking for girls ages 4-21. They also don’t allow makeup on girls 13 and under for this reason. I competed in National American Miss for 6 years, and was crowned the 2010 National American Miss Wisconsin Jr. Teen. National American Miss gave me skills that no other competition, sport, or activity could...I honestly don’t know who I would be today without the skills I’ve gained and the people I’ve met through National American Miss."
The Miss Green Bay Area competition is open to young women ages 17 to 24, and the Teen competition is open to girls ages 13 to 17, said Jenny Thomas, Miss Green Bay Area's Scholarship Organization's Media & Alumni Coordinator. Participants must have residency, attend school or be employed fulltime in Brown County; or a county directly adjacent to it, including: Calumet, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Oconto, Outagamie and Shawano Counties.

The Miss America Pageant, as well as the state and regional competitions leading up to it, Nimmer said, encompass four points--style, success, scholarship, and service.
A scholar-athlete, Nimmer, a junior, is involved in a variety of activities at UW-Whitewater, including intramural basketball and volleyball, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the WELS Campus Ministry. Her major studies are broadcast journalism and her minor is in political science.
As Miss Green Bay Area, her platform was “Going for the Gold"-Building Character and Life Skills Through Youth Sports, she said. "When I began thinking about what I wanted in my platform, I knew it had to be something so predominant in my life that if it were taken away and I never had taken part or been affiliated with it, I would be a completely different person today. For me, that was sports," Nimmer said. "I’ve gained countless skills and life lessons like team-building, perseverance, and learning how to be a humble winner and a gracious loser. Many 3rd graders can’t say that they spent close to every weekend traveling from gymnasium to gymnasium all over the state. In 3rd-8th grade, this was our life."
Nimmer said that, as a senior, she played on the girls' varsity basketball team (as one of five captains) that brought a state title back home to Kewaunee, becoming the first girls team at Kewaunee High School to qualify for a state championship in any sport. The team received a warm welcome in Kewaunee and was honored with a victory parade.
"A year as a representative in the Miss America Organization is also known as a year of service, and I’m more than excited to embark on mine. I’ll be busy making appearances throughout the year visiting schools and promoting my platform through various activities and events," she added. "I’m very excited to team up with Cabela’s in Green Bay in mid-June to help put on an event, which is dedicated to getting kids excited about outdoor sports. There’s plans in the works for many more local ventures as well, but (they) are not official yet."
"The stages of both competitions are private interview, lifestyle and fitness (fitness attire and routine for Teen contestants), talent, evening wear, and on-stage question. Contestants also must choose a platform/topic they will build on throughout the year to improve their community," Thomas added. "Each year, the Miss Green Bay Area Scholarship Pageant awards thousands of dollars of cash and in-kind scholarships to young women. The Miss America Organization is the largest scholarship program for young women and one of the nation’s leading achievement programs. Each year, the Miss America Organization makes available over $46 million in cash and in-kind scholarships at the local, state and national levels."