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Perham gets a new 'Miss'

Michelle Stahlecker, Anika Kovar, Hailey Jutz, and Callista Wengel, left to right, emerged victorious in this year’s “Night of Talent.” Stahlecker was crowned Miss Heart of the Lakes, Kovar was crowned Miss Perham’s Outstanding Teen, Jutz was crowned as Miss Perham, and Wengel was first runner-up for Miss Perham. Kiowa Wieser-Matthews/FOCUS

There’s a new Miss Perham in town.

Hailey Jutz, of Frazee, earned the title at the 2014 Miss Perham Pageant, held in the Perham High School Auditorium on Saturday.

Jutz succeeds the 2013 Miss Perham, Maren Anderson.

Also crowned at the pageant was Annika Kovar, of Perham, who was awarded the title of Miss Perham’s Outstanding Teen.  The previous titleholder was Lourdes Anderson.

The title of Miss Heart of the Lakes, previously held by Emily Lundgren, was awarded to Michelle Stahlecker, of Crookston.

Jutz, Kovar and Stahlecker were among eight young women who competed at the pageant.

Jutz won over the judges with her singing and on-stage swagger. Her platform, “What Can be Done to Prevent Suicide?,” contends that it is crucial to know the warning signs of suicide, and to take measures to prevent it.

“I’m really excited to be representing a town next to my hometown, and I’m looking forward to being involved in the community for the next year,” she said joyfully, shortly after the pageant. 

The evening started with a choreographed performance involving all competitors.

Next, contestants were asked about their platforms and were allowed to elaborate.

Immediately following that were the swimsuit, evening gown, and talent competitions. 

The pageant, called “A Night of Talent,” was emceed by Belle Craddock, the 1997 Miss Perham.

The event was full of various guest appearances, such as visiting royalty. Miss Minnesota, Savannah Cole, made an appearance, as well as Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen, Lauren Algyer, Both shared their platforms and talents with the audience.

Contestants not already mentioned include:

- Ida Brooks, a 21-year-old student at Bemidji State University. Her platform was “Living with Peer Pressure.”

- Kami Patrin, a 21-year-old student attending Minnesota State University in Mankato. Her platform was “Hope in One Hemisphere – Being the Voice for Hemisphersectomy.”

- Ashlie Tisland, age 20, a student at St. Catherine University. Her platform was, “I Am Not Ashamed: Changing the Stigma of Mental Illness.”

- Callista Wengel, a 17-year-old attending Perham High School. Wengel was named 1st runner up to Miss Perham. Her platform was, “Our Girls Are Not for Sale: Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking.”

- Emma Hilgart, age 21, who attends Central Lakes College. Her platform was, “Find your Voice – Vote!”