|Miss America 2012|
Miss Wisconsin 2011 Laura Kaeppeler, one of 53 Miss America pageant queens, becomes the Miss America 2012. A panel of seven judges was set to pick the Miss America on Saturday night during a live telecast on ABC, the culmination of a week of preliminary competitions and months of preparations for the titleholders from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
|Miss Winkinson 2011|
"There are many of you out there — and I was one of them — but it doesn't have to define you," Kaeppeler told The Associated Press after winning the crown and $50,000 scholarship on Saturday night. To win, she said beauty queens and politicians should remember they represent all Americans, sang an opera song and strutted in a white bikini and black evening gown.
Her looks, smarts and personal vocation impressed a panel of seven celebrity judges enough to give her the next year with the title. Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson came in second, while Miss New York Kaitlyn Monte placed third.
Kaeppeler, 23, replaces Teresa Scanlan of Nebraska, who won last year at age 17 and plans to use her scholarship to pay for law school. As the new Miss America, Kaeppeler will spend the next year touring the country to speak to different groups and raising money for the Children's Miracle Network, the Miss America Organization's official charity. She now says she intends to use the scholarship money to pursue a law degree and become a family attorney who specializes in helping children of incarcerated adults.