PHOTO STORY: Lillian Waggoner crowned Miss Buchanan 2022

Published 8:43 am Monday, January 17, 2022

BUCHANAN — When Lillian Waggoner was crowned Little Miss Buchanan years ago, she remembered looking up to the Miss Buchanan winner and thinking “This is going to be me one day.”

Now that dream has come true.

With tears of joy welling up in her eyes and surprised hands covering her mouth, Waggoner was crowned Miss Buchanan 2022 Saturday evening in the Buchanan High School auditorium. She became the 82nd queen, succeeding 2020 winner Jade Smith, who reigned for two years after the cancellation of the 2021 pageant.

“I was not expecting to win, but I did, and I’m very grateful for it,” said Waggoner, still beaming after the crowning ceremony. “It took a lot of time and a lot of heartache. … It means so much to me that I can be a role model to younger girls.”

After high school, Waggoner said she wants to attend Southwestern Michigan College and study special education, and after that continue her studies at Western Michigan University.

“I met two amazing girls who have special needs and I became their nanny,” Waggoner said. “Ever since, I fell in love with them, and I was like, ‘I want to work with kids just like you.’

Waggoner currently works at Blossomland Learning Center in Berrien Springs, which provides education services for students with cognitive impairments.

“I work with kids every day, and I enjoy it so much,” said Waggoner, who will go on to compete at the Miss Blossomtime Pageant in April.

Joy Kaltenbach was crowned Miss Congeniality, given to the contestant with the most pleasant personality, as voted on by her fellow contestants.

“That was really special to me because I know that all of my peers were the ones who voted for me,” Kaltenbach said. “I really love that because they are the ones who really know me.”

Kaltenbach said she always tries to be kind to others, no matter how she is feeling.

“I just want to make sure everyone feels included,” said Kaltenbach, adding her inspiration for being kind is her sister, Nora Kaltenbach. “She is one of the kindest people I know, and I’ve always looked up to her. I see the way she treats others and I just want to be like that.”

Hayden Bauer was named first runner-up, while Alexa Burns was named second runner-up. Each contestant, as well as this year’s Mr. Blossomtime representatives, Brian Proud and Nick McKean, received a scholarship after the winners were crowned.

Waggoner earned a $1,500 Queens Scholarship sponsored by Buchanan Lodge #68 Free and Accepted Masons.