Parkway High School’s Remi Fokine, left, was crowned Queen Jubilee XLVI on Saturday. St. John’s  Lillian Hempfling, second from right, was first runner-up. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Parkway High School’s Remi Fokine, left, was crowned Queen Jubilee XLVI on Saturday. St. John’s Lillian Hempfling, second from right, was first runner-up. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
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VAN WERT – “It was incredible,” said Parkway High School’s Remi Fokine after finding out she would be crowned Queen Jubilee XLVI after Saturday morning’s Peony Pageant.

Fokine, the daughter of Timothy and Megan Fokine, said she was surprised and happy to receive the honor. Being part of the pageant has been an unforgettable experience for her.

“It’s been such an incredible experience; I’ve made so many new friends,” said Fokine. “Girls that I wouldn’t even think that I’d be friends with are best friends now.”

“All of the girls have been so sweet,” she added. “I cannot recommend this pageant more because it’s just been an incredible experience.”

In addition to making new friends, Fokine said the pageant allowed her to step out of her comfort zone.

“I’m kind of one to be timid and not share myself, and I was really pushed out of my comfort zone and have been able to truly express myself,” said Fokine. “The girls have really allowed me to do that, and I’m thankful for that.”

Fokine said that people in the community have been very helpful through the process, especially as the coronavirus global pandemic was still causing event makers to pivot and rethink how they usually put on ceremonies such as the Queen Jubilee Pageant. Typically the Peony Pageant takes place in April, but because of the pandemic, the event was pushed back to the weekend of the Peony Festival in hopes that restrictions would be loosened.

For her first-place finish, Fokine was awarded a $1,200 scholarship to be paid directly to her college of choice.

First runner-up, and recipient of the $800 scholarship, was Lillian Hempfling of Delphos St. John. Hempfling, the daughter of Chuck and Susan Hempfling, was also awarded a $100 scholarship for Most Photogenic.

Second runner-up, and recipient of the $500 scholarship, was Dyann Carey of Lincolnview.

The $250 Miss Congeniality and $250 Community Involvement scholarships were awarded to Alexa Chung of Delphos Jefferson. Chung is the daughter of Angela Chung.

The $400 Talent Winner scholarship was awarded to Bailey Gregory of Crestview, who presented a song in American Sign Language.

A People’s Choice award was presented to Janie Trejo of Van Wert High School. Trejo was awarded a gift card basket.