By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN If someone were to ask Winsted Holy Trinity High School senior Stephanie Kellner the best part of her summer, she might have trouble deciding.
Not only was Kellner selected for the Miss Teen honor court, but she was also crowned a Winsted Ambassador, attended Girls State, and worked as an administrative assistant at her mother’s company, RiteWay Manufacturing in Lester Prairie.
Kellner (the daughter of Bruce and Denise Johnson of Lester Prairie) was one of about 50 girls in the Miss Teen of Minnesota pageant, which took place on the St. Cloud State University campus the end of July.
Contestants were judged in several categories, including scholastic record, service and achievement, personal development, personality projection and poise, general awareness, and a short interview.
“The interview was definitely the easiest for me,” Kellner said. “My judges were a lot of fun. They ask about your hometown, so we talked a lot about Winstock.”
The “general awareness” portion was based on a written multiple-choice test with questions about current events, teen issues, general knowledge, and common sense.
“It was anything and everything,” Kellner said. “They asked how many squares are on a checkerboard, and who was the first female astronaut on the moon. My favorite one was, ‘What kind of makeup should be the first to throw away?’ It’s mascara.”
After judging was over for the day, the contestants participated in teambuilding activities. For one of them, groups were given a problem to solve, and were told to demonstrate their solution with a skit.
“I definitely think the skits were the most fun,” Kellner said. “Everyone had really funny scenarios.”
The teens also learned a dance routine, which they performed at the introduction to the pageant.
The pageant took place the final day of the competition, and started with the outgoing Miss Teen of Minnesota giving her farewell speech. The contestants then went on stage, each providing a light-hearted personal statement.
“Mine was that I’m absolutely obsessed with peanut butter,” Kellner said.
Then, the six members of the honor court were called on stage, one-by-one.
“I was the first one called,” Kellner said. “I just sat there for awhile, and the people next to me were like, ‘that’s you. Go on up.’”
All six finalists then answered an on-the-spot question. Kellner was asked, “How do you feel about academics and athletics together?”
A random “fishbowl” question was next. Kellner’s question involved describing Minnesota to someone from a far-away country.
Kellner said the girl who received this year’s title of Miss Teen of Minnesota, Ashley Becker of Maple Lake, was given a tough fishbowl question regarding her future plans.
“She handled it so well,” Kellner said.
A summer to remember
Less than two weeks after the Miss Teen pageant, Kellner received another honor being named a 2013-14 Winsted Ambassador.
“I just really wanted to support Winsted,” she said.
Another exciting part of Kellner’s summer was spending a week at Bethel College in Arden Hills for Minnesota Girls State.
“I wanted to go to meet new people and expand knowledge,” Kellner said.
Since the Winsted American Legion Auxiliary was already sponsoring Holy Trinity student Shannon Nix, Kellner sent a request to Brownton’s auxiliary and they said “yes.”
“Those ladies are so sweet,” Kellner said.
Minnesota Girls State is an interactive program in which girls learn how to form city, county, and state government offices, and carry out elected and appointed positions in government.
“I ran for governor,” Kellner said.
Next fall, Kellner plans to attend the College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville to earn a degree in business management, with a minor in accounting.
“I’d also like to take some art classes,” she said.
Ultimately, Kellner’s career goal is to take over her mom’s company in Lester Prairie, but she plans to gain experience at other businesses her first five years post college.
Kellner is currently employed as an administrative assistant at RiteWay, handling inventory and data entry.
At Holy Trinity High School, Kellner serves as president of the National Honor Society, plays volleyball, and was chosen for the 2013 homecoming court.