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April 2012

Seven young ladies run for Miss German-America

Meet the contestants and get your tickets now

For over half a Century, there has been one float in the German-American Steuben Parade that has stood out as a highlight: the cornflower-blue float carrying the Queen of the Steuben Parade with her court. Always smiling with a royal wave to the audience, the Queen and Princesses are as beautiful as they are proud to be German-American and representatives of a rich culture and heritage.

"As Miss German America, I had the opportunity to attend many wonderful German festivals and events throughout the summer", says 2011 Queen Denise Manukian. "I was really humbled by these people who come out every year and attend these events so that they can showcase their German pride."

On Saturday, May 19, the German-American Committee is crowning their 2012 Steuben Parade Queen and her court during an exclusive ceremony at the Bierhaus NYC at 712 Third Avenue (at 45th Street) in New York City. Tickets are on sale now.

Seven young ladies are in the running for Miss German-America:

Elise Wilkinson Elise Wilkinson is a graduate of Fairfield University of CT and presently a Juris Doctor Candidate at the Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, CT. While in high school, Elise spent two summers at Waldsee German camp in Bemidji, MN where they attended baking and filmmaking in classes taught in German. 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".

Kirsten Mueller Kirsten Mueller is passionate about animals and a Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences major at the University of Delaware. Her father's family hails from Bavaria and her mother's family from Kaiserslautern. She is also passionate about her culture and practices her heritage by dancing authentic German folkdances with the S.V.V. Original Enzian club. "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." Kirsten studied the German language at the German-American School of Ridgewood and Franklin Square.

Kyra Schugt 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, and thus I sought out this application to be a positive, energetic candidate for the 2012/2013 title position. " A Fulbright Grantee, Kyra speaks fluent German and spent ten months as a English Teaching Assistant at Gesamtschule Homberg, Germany.

Elicia Nauerz Elicia Nauerz will graduate from Ocean County College this spring as a Paralegal with a minor in English. As a child, Elicia sang in the Kinderchor (children's choir) of the Lakewood Maennerchor. She was a Steuben Parade Junior Princess in 2002 and enjoyed her experience so much that she has returned to seek the crown of Miss German-America. "I hope to encourage younger generations to be involved in our traditions and to inspire other girls to be our Miss German-America in future years."

Sheri Florio Sheri Florio is a third year student at Providence College where she is studying to be a Secondary Education Mathematics teacher. Her grandparents traveled to America by boat with a dollar in their pocket to start a family and a living in New York. Along with them they brought their Austrian traditions and continued to pass them down to their children and grandchildren. Sheri says, "I have yet to come across someone who makes a better strudel than my Oma." Sheri is from Long Beach, NY, speaks a little German and is affiliated with the First Burgenlander Sick and Death Benefit Society.

Charlotte Bareiss Charlotte Bareiss graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in German and is currently attending Columbia University for Post-Baccalaureate studies in Psychology. She was born in Munich, Germany and maintains dual citizenship, German and American. She is a Kindergarten teacher at the German School of Connecticut on Saturdays. Charlotte is an avid equestrian and also enjoys ballroom dancing. "To be Miss German-America would be immensely rewarding, fun and most importantly a way for me to connect with others like me, by providing a bridge between German and American cultures. This is particularly important for the younger generation of German-Americans."

Kerilyn Becker is a Music Therapy major and graduate of Montclair State University of New Jersey. She is a talented musician playing multiple instruments and has experience working with many different clinical populations from pediatrics to geriatrics. She is fascinated with the studies of her German family genealogy and culture. "Having studied the genealogy of my heritage, I was proud to know that I have long German Roots that extend to the Civil War. It's an eye opening experience to have a greater understanding of where your family first began and where you are now."

The German-American Committee is proud to present seven contestants with such distinct biographies and such a passion for their German-American heritage. Do you have a favorite? All contestants will be interviewed by a jury before being introduced on stage. There will be an audience vote, and the Committee encourages all to come and vote for their favorite candidate for Miss German-America.

Tickets are on sale for $45 and include German beer and food throughout the three-hour long event. (Tickets are $20 for all under 21; children 12 and under are free.) Click here to order tickets online or call (914) 439-7638 to order by phone.

Aside from the crowning, the German-American Committee is looking forward to introducing the Junior General and Junior Princesses for 2012, as well. Together, the 2012 Steuben Parade Queen and her court are in for a fantastic year full of events throughout the Greater New York area. 2011 Queen Denise Manukian remembers: "It's been such a whirlwind of activities. I'm so proud that I was able to represent the German-American culture in such a unique way". Even though she will be giving up her crown, Denise wants to stay involved with the Steuben Parade: "I look forward to many more parades to come and more opportunities to showcase my pride".


German-American Steuben Parade Committee • P.O. Box 3386 • Church Street Station • New York, NY 10008 • Tel. 347-454-2269 • Email: