Miss America 2012 is from Wisconsin.
Twenty-three year old Kenosha native Laura Kaeppeler wins a 50 thousand dollar scholarship and will hold the title for one year. She claimed first in the beauty pageant held in Las Vegas Saturday night. She sang opera and tied for first in the talent portion of the competition.
She told pageant officials she plans to get her master’s in speech and language pathology, then become a speech therapist. The pageant was broadcast live in ABC Teleivison. Miss Oklahoma, Betty Thompson, was runner-up.
She's the first Miss America from Wisconsin since Terry Ann Meeuwsen in 1973.
Kaeppeler's father spent 18 months behind bars for mail fraud. And she said she'll encourage families in similar situations to improve ties and move forward together.
Kaeppeler says she wants children of incarcerated adults to feel like they're not alone. She wants them to have mentoring for those children, and as much of a relationship with their parents as they can.
Kaeppeler, who won the Miss Wisconsin pageant last summer, said there are more than two million children with parents in jail.