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May 2012

Kirsten Mueller is Miss German-America

Rooted in Bavaria and Palatinate, 21-year-old Steuben Parade Queen appreciates link to her heritage

After vowing the jury with her activities in the German-American community and after impressing the audience with her knowledge of German influence on American culture, the vote was in: Kirsten Mueller, a 21-year-old college student from Dix Hills, NY was crowned Miss German-America and will be the Queen of the upcoming 55th German-American Steuben Parade.

"This is so exciting," Kirsten said after receiving the cornflower-adorned silver tiara, that she will be wearing all summer long when visiting German-American festivals all over the tri-state area. Attending these affairs will not be all new to Kirsten, who is an active member and dancer of the S.V.V. Original Enzian Schuhplattler group based in Franklin Square, Long Island. "Schuhplattler has taught me discipline as well as responsibility throughout my years of dancing", says Kirsten. "It has provided a link for me to keep my heritage close to my heart and supporting my passion for my culture."

When not dancing with her group, Kirsten is passionate about animals and a Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences major at the University of Delaware. She studied the German language at the German-American School of Ridgewood and Franklin Square. Her father's family hails from Bavaria and her mother's family from Kaiserslautern.

When asked about her favorite German-American during an interview on stage, Kirsten named Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks who became one of the greatest basketball players in the world during his ongoing stint in the NBA. Kirsten herself is a basketball player.

When doing the rounds at German-American events and waving from the Queen´s float during the Steuben Parade on Fifth Avenue, Kirsten Mueller will be joined by the members of her court, including princesses Elise Wilkinson and Kyra Shugt.

Elise Wilkinson, who named Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, as her favorite German-American, is a graduate of Fairfield University of CT and presently a Juris Doctor Candidate at the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, CT. As a college undergraduate, Elise spent a semester studying abroad in Stuttgart and Heidelberg, Germany. "It was an amazing experience where I was fully immersed in an area of the country I had heard so much about, but never visited", she recalls. "I am still in contact with the many friends from that experience with whom I reminisce about our days".

Kyra Schugt is a resident of Steuben Street in Brooklyn and employed as an Art teacher in the NYC public school system. "My upbringing, personal interests and future aspirations characterize a distinct recognition and appreciation for German-American cultural exchange", says the young girl. A Fulbright Grantee, Kyra speaks fluent German and spent ten months as a English Teaching Assistant at Gesamtschule Homberg, Germany. Passionate about German language and culture, Kyra named Thomas Mann as her favorite German-American.

Also part of this year´s Steuben Parade Court are Junior Princesses Sofia Starace and Heidi Froehlich of Mahopac, NY, Brooke Hubert of Oceanside, NY, and Emilie Siering of Syosset, NY.

Lukas Messing is the Junior General for the upcoming season, proudly displaying the uniform of General von Steuben, the namesake of the Parade. Eight year old Lukas has not missed a Parade since he was born. His mother, Stephanie Messing, is a member of the Steuben Parade Committee and has been inviting and handling the visiting groups from Germany, Switzerland and Austria for more than a decade.

With her title as Miss German-America, Kirsten Mueller won a $3,000 scholarship with $1,000 scholarships going to each princess. All ladies were also given gift bags by Tweezerman, a German manufacturer of quality beauty tools and accessories.

This year´s Crowning of Miss German-America was a sold-out affair held at Bierhaus NYC on Third Avenue, a favorite German restaurant in New York City. Entertainment was provided by "The Alpine Squeeze" and later, to a lesser point, the soccer stars of FC Bayern München who almost beat rival FC Chelsea in the Champions League final.

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German-American Steuben Parade Committee • P.O. Box 3386 • Church Street Station • New York, NY 10008 • Tel. 201-763-7285 • Email: info@germanparadenyc.org