Buchanan High School senior crowned Miss Spirit Saturday

ST. JOSEPH — Buchanan High School senior Maya Schuhknecht was crowned Miss Spirit of Blossomtime Saturday night at St. Joseph High School.

Schuhknecht said she competed to have fun and was not expecting to claim a title. When she made it into the top five, she was shocked and when she was announced Miss Spirit, Schuhknecht said she almost did not believe her ears.

“I was like, ‘I’m so happy I’m in top five,’ and then they put the crown on my head,” Schuhknecht said. “You can see my mouth literally drop. I was like, ‘what is this?’ I did not expect to win.”

Schuhknecht grew up looking up to her local pageant queens and said this influence inevitably led her to try out for Miss Buchanan, where she was crowned first-runner up. As she was awarded the glittering crown and sash, recognizing her as Miss Spirit, she thought of the opportunities to inspire young girls like herself during her reign.

“Miss Buchanan and all these queens have always been like role models to young girls,” Schuhknecht said. “I always looked up to Miss Buchanan and Miss Niles and I always wanted to be that.”

Schuhknecht is the daughter of Michael and Jennifer Schuhknecht. After high school, she plans to attend Michigan State University and study graphic design and creative advertising.

The Miss Spirit competition is a chance for the women crowned first-runner up in local scholarship pageants to compete for Miss Spirit. The one crowned Miss Spirit is given the opportunity to compete in the Miss Blossomtime scholarship pageant. This year, Schuhknecht was one of 18 competitors to vie for the crown.

During the competition, pageant contestants must be able to speak and demonstrate grace and poise in front of a large audience. Schuhknecht credits some of her ability to talk in front of a crowd from her time in the Herd – a school spirit group that helps to cheer on Buchanan athletes.

Schuhknecht said she also believes she won because she competed with the mindset to have fun and make friends.

“Doing Miss Spirit, I felt really confident in myself and it felt really good because I went into to have fun,” Schuhknecht said. “All the other girls were cheering for me and the chair people were cheering for me and my friends and family were there and I was just having a good time.”

Before competing in Miss Buchanan, Schuhknecht said she had not been part of a scholarship pageant. This year, she said she decided to give it a shot. When determining whether or not to compete, Schuhknecht said she looked back to being a child and the interactions she had with local royalty.

Schuhknecht said the experience competing in local pageants left her with more than a crown and sash.

“I got a lot of interview skills and self-confidence [out of the experience],” Schuhknecht said. “Now I can go into an interview confident.”

Looking to her reign as Miss Spirit, Schuhknecht said she looks forward to the opportunity to compete in the Miss Blossomtime pageant. She also said she could not wait to begin serving her community as Miss Spirit.

“That’s what I am looking forward to the most is just being a role model,” Schuhknecht said. “They [children] see how you act and behave and you have to be mature.”

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