Miss Butler County and Miss Augusta Crowned

“There she is,” in the iconic words immortalized by Bert Parks, “the dream of a million girls who are more than pretty.”  

From left to right: Augusta’s Teen Candidate Emmie Johnston, Miss Augusta 2022 Anna Holman, Miss Kansas 2021 Taylor Clark, Miss Butler County 2022 Sierra Marie Bonn, Butler County’s Teen Candidate Grace Isch.

Sierra Marie Bonn was crowned Miss Butler County and Anna Holman was crowned Miss Augusta during the annual Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Scholarship Competition held at Augusta High School on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

Bonn, a resident of Butler County, an El Dorado High School alum and Miss El Dorado 2021.  She served the community as Miss Augusta 2019. 

.Miss Butler County 2020-21 Allie Gier crowns her successor Miss Butler County 2022 Sierra Marie Bonn. Gier served two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She is a graduate of Wichita State University with an engineering technology degree. Bonn advocates for STEAM education through her SII “Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!”  STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.  

“‘Let’s Go Full STEAM Ahead!’ was founded to empower individuals of all ages to develop the critical thinking and collaboration skills needed to advance in their personal and professional lives,” said Bonn. “Additionally, the program works to resolve the inequity and underrepresentation in STEAM fields.” 

Holman is a resident of Columbus, Kansas and she was Miss Augusta’s Outstanding Teen 2019.  She is a Junior at Pittsburg State University and her educational focus is exercise science with a pre-physical therapy emphasis.  She advocates for physical fitness and inclusion for people with disabilities through her social impact initiative, “Fitness for All.”

Six young women competed for the titles of Miss Augusta and Miss Butler County and the scholarship dollars that accompany those titles.  The candidates were Maddie Livingston, Tyler Pollard, Payton Keller, Katie Brooks, Anna Holman and Sierra Marie Bonn. 

“Both Sierra and Anna will receive a wonderful scholarship and wardrobe assistance for the Miss Kansas Competition in June 2022,” said Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Executive Director Larry Strong.

Bonn won an additional $100 scholarship as the overall interview winner.  The scholarships can be paid directly to the institution they are attending or towards student loan payments. 

The phases of competition include a private interview with judges, a Social Impact Initiative (SII) pitch and on-stage question, talent performance and red carpet wear. 

Augusta’s Teen Candidate Emmie Johnston, left, and Butler County’s Teen Candidate Grace Isch, right.

Two Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen (MKSOTeen) Candidates, Emmie Johnston and Grace Isch, made their first official appearance as well.  Jonhston will represent Augusta and Isch will represent Butler County at the MKSOTeen Competition March 25-27, 2022 in Pratt, Kansas.

The Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Scholarship Competition is a local competition within the Miss America Organization and Strong has been involved with the organization for 47 years. 

Larry Strong, center, with Miss Butler County Sierra Marie Bonn, left, and Miss Augusta Anna Holman, right.

“The first Miss Butler County Scholarship Pageant was held on September 3, 1975,” said Strong.  

“In 2006, the Miss Augusta title was part of the White Eagle Festival,” said Strong.  “In 2008, both the Miss Augusta and Miss Butler County titles merged to become an official local of the Miss Kansas Organization, Inc.”

Throughout his many years of involvement, Strong has a successful track record of helping young women with their personal and professional development.  

As a volunteer, he works to fulfill the mission of the Miss America and Miss Kansas Organizations, to “prepare great women for the world and prepare the world for great women.”  

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Miss America Organization.  The Miss America Organization is a nationally recognized non-profit and serves as one of the largest providers of scholarship assistance to young women in the world. 

Since 2010, Strong estimates that the Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County Organization has awarded over $35,000 in scholarships. 

Strong said 6 women from the organization that have gone on to become Miss Kansas.  They are Heather Lynn Clark, Michelle Walthers, Emily Deaver, Lauren Werhan, Hannah Wagner and the current Miss Kansas, Taylor Clark.   

“Taylor was Miss Butler County’s Outstanding Teen 2017 and went on to win Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen 2017,” said Strong.  “Taylor was Miss Augusta 2020 and she is the first teen titleholder to also become Miss Kansas.” 

Additionally, he is proud of the many girls from Miss Augusta/Miss Butler County who have gone on to place in the Top 5 and Top Ten, as well as the numerous preliminary winners. 

Bonn and Holman will both go on to compete at the state-level, in the Miss Kansas Scholarship Competition in June 2022. To learn more about the Miss Kansas and MKSOTeen programs, visit MissKansas.org

El Dorado Native Illustrates Book

A Walk with Wu

Genna Pennington graduated from El Dorado High School in 2014, and her passion for art and skill was apparent to those around here, even then, when she helped create a t-shirt with the school mascot on it. Pennington went on to attend Wichita State University the following semester and graduated in Spring 2018 with Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a Painting emphasis. Her artistic talents were once again called upon by her educational institution to illustrate the school mascot in a graphic novel.

The artist, Genna Pennington, with a copy of the graphic novel A Walk with WU.

A Walk with Wu is a graphic novel celebrating key moments in Wichita State University’s history in celebration of the school’s 125th anniversary,” said Pennington.

In the book, Wu, WSU’s mascot, walks readers through memories of the school from its founding to present day.

Dr. Jay Price, Professor of History, has been working on a series of historical graphic novels called Luke the Longhorn, in collaboration with the artist and others.

“[Price] brought that same concept to Wichita State University to create a historic graphic novel that would both celebrate the momentous anniversary, while also creating a compiled source of events through the University’s long history,” said Pennington.

“I learned about the project when Dr. Darren Defrain, Director of the Writing Program at WSU, reached out to me about doing the artwork for the project,” said Pennington. “I was personally recommended to him by my former drawing instructor, Robert Bubp, Foundations Coordinator and Associate Professor of Drawing and Painting at WSU.”

“I was intimidated at first, having a background that leaned more towards painting,” said Pennington. “However, with my recent plunge into digital art, I decided to take this tremendous opportunity and simply give it my all.”

Pennington joined the project when it was a simple bare-bones outline.
“Once the team brought me on, we would join together for weekly online Zoom meetings to write the script and plan the imagery. Our team consisted of Jay Price, Darren DeFrain, Jessica Cerri, who is the University Archives Curator of Special Collections, and myself,” said Pennington.

“I was the sole artist on the project, as well as contributing ideas and concepts throughout the project. While I created the artwork, I did a significant amount of research through Wichita State’s online digital library for ideas and reference images as well. I was responsible for every visual piece of the book, including placing and proofing the text, panels, and formatting the project to send to the printer,” said Pennington.

My favorite part of the project was working with the team, who were always a lot of fun to virtually hang out and plan with, as well as learn from. I am also truly proud of the work I did for the project, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and never gave up, even when it was challenging.”

Pennington is currently painting, creating digital art, print-on-demand apparel designing and so much more. Learn more about her current projects and keep up with her on her website: gennaelise.com

A Walk with Wu retails for $12.00 can be found at the WSU Shocker Store on campus and online.