Kelly Oles, named first runner-up in the 2011 Miss Michigan pageant three weeks ago, was crowned Miss Oakland County 2011 Saturday night at the in Farmington Hills.
Miss Oakland County was her first local pageant when she first got involved in the Miss America program in 2009.
"I actually Googled 'volunteering', because I wanted to make a bigger impact in my community," the 23-year-old MBA candidate said. It has given her the opportunity to promote her platform, healthy living for kids, inspired by her concern over alarming rates of childhood obesity.
But that's not all.
"I love the friendships, I love all the girls," Oles said.
As she works toward her advanced degree, Oles said she is looking for a job. "I've got two interviews this week. Keep your fingers crossed," she said.
Kayla Pingel of Farmington did not place among the top contestants, but she did win the talent competition and the People's Choice Award, determined by donations contestants collected in containers set out during the pageant for the scholarship program.
"I'm still shaking a little," Pingel said after the pageant. "I think I did the best that I could, and I'm very happy."
This year's pageant drew 15 contestants. The other contestants were:
- Brenna O'Malley of Sterling Heights, 2nd runner-up
- Melissa Keith of Walled Lake
- Cristine Zuchora of Hazel Park
- Danica Katnik of Howell
- Shelby Gardiner of St. Clair Shores
- Rebecca Fisher of Shelby Twp.
- Elana Bandalene of Sylvan Lake
- Richele Ehardt of Milford
- Elizabeth Wendel of Birmingham, 1st runner-up
- Danielle Jackson of Bloomfield Hills
- Sydney Learman of Lynwood, 3rd runner-up
- Angela McAuley of Macomb, 4th runner-up
- Mollie Smith of Milford
Oles will receive a $1,000 education scholarship and a $265.38 scholarship from Children's Miracle Network, along with a cornucopia of gifts including her crown, Miss America pin and sash, an in-kind Baker College scholarship valued at $4,000, a 16 x 20 portrait by and gift certificates for beauty services and wardrobe.
The first runner-up receives a $400 scholarship; second runner-up, $200; third and fourth runner-up, $100 each.
The Miss Oakland County pageant is open to women who live, work or attend school in Oakland County. For more information, visit missoaklandcounty.org
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly reported the eligibility requirements for the Miss Oakland County pageant.