Miss Wisconsin, Laura Kaeppeler, talks to second-grade students at Blessed Sacrament School in Milwaukee Oct. 6, 2011. The 23-year-old Catholic was crowned Miss America 2012 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas Jan. 14. CNS photo/Ernie Mastroianni

Miss America knows gifts are from God

By  Catholic News Service
  • January 24, 2012

MILWAUKEE — All smiles, Susan Kaeppeler, fourth-grade teacher at Kenosha’s St. Joseph Academy’s lower campus, was greeted with the red-carpet treatment when she arrived to class Jan. 16 after a whirlwind weekend where she saw her oldest daughter, Laura, crowned Miss America.

The 23-year-old brunette won the Miss America title in Las Vegas Jan. 14. “Some of the parents decorated her classroom, and made some posters and put them up in the gym as the school day began,” said Pauline McTernan, St. Joseph development director.

Particularly touching to McTernan was Susan’s impromptu speech as she reminded students what her daughter had said to them when she visited the school last October, as Miss Wisconsin.

“She asked if the students remembered Laura’s message and no matter who she pointed to, the kids remembered what Laura had said to them,” she said.

“I will never forget it either, as it knocked my socks off. She told the students to put God first, to believe in yourself and to never give up. And the students got it; it just shows what type of girl Laura is. Her whole family is wonderful and has strong convictions and good character.”

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