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A new reign begins: Miss Perham, Miss HOTL crowned

Left to right are: 2011 Miss Heart of the Lakes Caitlyn Thompson, newly crowned Miss HOTL Lauren Johnson, newly crowned Miss Perham Leah Wuebben, and 2011 Miss Perham Paige Meyer. Heidi Kratzke/FOCUS1 / 5
The new Miss Perham, Leah Wuebben. Heidi Kratzke/FOCUS2 / 5
The new Miss Heart of the Lakes, Lauren Johnson, of Brainerd. Heidi Kratzke/FOCUS3 / 5
Kayla Brown, of Moorhead, dances during the Miss Perham and Miss Heart of the Lakes Pageant in Perham on Friday. Heidi Kratzke/FOCUS4 / 5
Miss Perham contestant, Emily Peterson, showcased her vocal talents at the pageant. Heidi Kratzke/FOCUS5 / 5

Applause broke out in the Perham High School Auditorium on Friday night as Leah Wuebben was named Miss Perham 2012.

Wuebben, along with fellow contestants Makenzi Kovar, Grace Wooten, and Emily Peterson, advocated for their platforms and shared their talents with those in attendance at the August 10 pageant.

Makenzi Kovar was named first runner-up and Emily Peterson was honored with the talent award.

Elizabeth (Tweeton) Odegaard, Miss Perham 2001, served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening.

"Preventing and reversing Type II Diabetes" was the platform selected by Wuebben. She chose a monologue for the talent competition and exuded confidence throughout the evening. Wuebben won Miss Congeniality and the evening gown award. She'll be a senior at Perham High School this coming year.

The winner of the title of Miss Heart of the Lakes 2012 was 21-year-old Lauren Johnson from Brainerd. Johnson's platform is "Eating Disorder Awareness." Johnson won the evening gown competition and the talent competition, where she played a selection on the piano. She currently attends the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.

Other Miss Heart of the Lakes contestants included Emma Hilgart of Brainerd, Kayla Brown of Moorhead, Heather Pearson of Lake Park, and Jamie Whitehead of Brainerd.

Outgoing royalty Miss Perham 2011, Paige Meyer, and Miss Heart of the Lakes 2011, Caitlyn Thompson, crowned this year's winners at the end of the evening. Educational scholarships were awarded to the contestants.

Also announced was the upcoming Miss Perham's Outstanding Teen pageant, which will be held for the first time this fall. The competition is open to young women between the ages of 13 and 17. For information about becoming a contestant in the Outstanding Teen program, email