Laurel Wageman, this year’s homecoming queen at Glasgow High School, was first runner up for the title of Montana’s Homecoming Queen in the America’s Homecoming Queen Pageant held May 4 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the event that Baylor Anderson of Thompson Falls cannot fulfill her obligations to attend the national competition in Anaheim, Calif., this July, Laurel would go in her place.
Laurel is the daughter of Gary and Annette Wageman of Glasgow. Annette Wageman kept a journal of their pageant experiences and shared it with The Courier.
It was a whirlwind of a weekend for the Wageman family. Laurel’s brother, Andy, was graduating from Helena College the same day as the pageant. As soon as she returned Laurel had two Swing Choir performances and the next track meet. It is a marathon sprint at this point.
Each candidate had to to answer a question on the spot: What is the biggest challenge facing teens today and what can you do about it? Most of the girls answered social media and cyber bullying. Laurel’s answered centered on poverty. In her years of travel throughout the United States and Europe, she has seen her share of poverty. She has sponsored a child through Catholic Relief Services who received education, food and clothing assistance on just $20 a month contribution. She has seen poverty in our home town as well. When athletes don’t have food to eat during competitions because parents have challenges managing their food stamps, it is a difficult thing to see.
The day of the pageant was also the day that would have been coach Bob Farrell’s 69th birthday. Laurel and Andy went to Billings and visited Farrell in the hospital in April. He promised to review her pole vaulting videos and to visit with her again when she stopped through Billings on her way to this Homecoming Queen pageant. When she had a first-place finish in the pole vault, Farrell called her in class to congratulate her. Just four days later, he was gone. When she went up for communion at funeral, she put that first place ribbon on his cremation urn. His family buried it with him.
An amazing turn of events was the wardrobe malfunctions that occurred just before showtime. Two young ladies had zippers break. Laurel’s mom came through with safety pins, but being an experienced seamstress she knew there was no hope of fixing one of them. Fortunately, Laurel had brought two dresses along. So Laurel at 5 feet 10 inches lent this year’s prom dress to Jade Welton, a 5 foot 4 inch finalist from Nevada. Challenges in dress length but at this point, she had no choice. This young lady has quite a personality. She didn’t miss a step and her charisma made up for any stage training. She won the Nevada title.
“It was an amazing opportunity to stretch (Laurel’s) academic and competitive nature,” Annette Wageman said. “Who would guess this would happen after filling out a scholarship application. She is thrilled and satisfied with the level of experience she has had.”
The level of scholarship award is unclear at this point since Laurel was not the state queen. There still is an opportunity to receive a scholarship selected separately by the public voting for America’s favorite homecoming queen online at www.americashomecomingqueen.com. Votes are $1 each.