As my time as Miss German-America has come to an end and the court of the 66th Annual German-American Steuben Parade has been crowned, I cannot help but look back and reflect on my time as Queen, how I got there, and provide some advice to the incoming court.

17 years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a Junior Princess in the court of current Vice Chairlady Nicole Radske Miskiewicz. Since then, I dreamed of becoming Queen of the Steuben Parade, one of my favorite annual events for as long as I can remember. Last May, that dream was realized and I was thrilled to be crowned Miss German-America for the 65th Annual Steuben Parade.

Being previously involved with the parade, I had some expectations for how being Queen would go: lots of appearances in white dresses at festivals throughout the summer, selling cornflowers to attendees interested in what I had done to win my crown and what my sash said, and riding on the Miss German-America Float down Fifth Avenue on the third Saturday in September. Those expectations were certainly met, but I learned that the smaller moments would become the memories I would come to cherish most.

While high-level events like the Gala and Silent Auction and Oktoberfest in Central Park were very special, my favorite parts of being Queen are the connections and friendships I made with my fellow court members and other members of the German-American community, and the small moments we shared; from dancing at the Bavarian Festival at Plattdeutsch Park with Princess Viktoria, to making our way around Peekskill Oktoberfest selling cornflowers with Junior Princess Astrid, to meeting audience members of German Night at Eisenhower Park with Junior Princess Selena, to greeting groups from overseas with Princess Klara at Foley Square, and taking a taxi to the float on the morning of the parade in great anticipation with Junior Generals Matthew and Ryan. I have so many more small yet precious memories with each of the court members and I am so happy to have met and spent last summer with each of them, bonding over our love of sharing our German heritage and culture with others.

Being Miss German-America would not have been the same without each of my wonderful court members, all of their lovely parents, or without Miss German-America Chairlady Connie Rom. I will never forget many years ago, my dad brought me to a parade meeting at the Liederkranz where I told Connie my dream of becoming Miss German-America one day. Looking back, this was pretty bold for an 11-year-old. She was nonetheless encouraging, just as she was over ten years later on the call we had leading up to last year’s crowning. I cannot thank Connie enough for all of the support she has given each of us in the court, and me especially.

Speaking of people I wouldn’t be here without, I would also like to thank my parents for their unwavering support leading up to and throughout my reign. My dad’s decision to become involved in the parade some 20 years ago truly changed the trajectory of my life for the better and my mom was hands down the best Queen handler and personal secretary I could have asked for last summer.

It’s hard to believe that my reign is over, but I am so excited to see all the wonderful accomplishments of the new court. Time really flies and my advice to the incoming court is to savor every moment. Being a part of the court of Miss German-America is a once in a life time opportunity and I can promise it will go faster than you expect! Beyond the parade, each event, each exchange while selling a cornflower, are moments you will come to treasure.

I congratulate the new court and wish them the best of luck, thank the German-American Steuben Parade Committee for this amazing opportunity and I cannot wait to see you at the 66th Annual German American Steuben Parade on September 16, 2023!