Pequot Lakes senior crowned Miss Nisswa

Brainerd High School senior to serve as First Princess; Pequot Lakes junior dons Miss Congeniality title

Miss Nisswa Scholarship Pageant contestants were Mary Moore (left), Miss Congeniality Sonja Palmer, Miss Nisswa Samantha Jackson, First Princess Carsyn Krassas, Nicole Mix and Brittany Joyce. Little Miss Nisswa winners were Charlotte Halvorson (left), Olivia Waagmeester and Lucy Smith. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal (April 2021)

Samantha Jackson, a senior at Pequot Lakes High School, was crowned Miss Nisswa 2021 on Saturday, April 10, at the annual scholarship pageant held in the Nisswa Elementary School gym.

"When I was waiting, I was really nervous and I was honestly shaking."

— Samantha Jackson, Miss Nisswa 2021

Carsyn Krassas, a senior at Brainerd High School, won the First Princess title and a $1,500 scholarship. The candidates voted for Sonja Palmer, a Pequot Lakes High School junior, as Miss Congeniality. She will receive a $500 scholarship.

Jackson, who will receive a $3,000 educational scholarship and a $2,000 Dale Carnegie training course, also won the personal interview and talent portions of the scholarship pageant, worth another $100 each. She performed a lyrical dance to “Like My Mother Does” for her talent.


"It was the coolest experience because Marisa (Mulholland), the past Miss Nisswa, is one of my best friends and she got to crown me. So that was a really special moment for us."

— Samantha Jackson

Other candidates were Nicole Nix, Brainerd High School junior; Brittany Joyce, Pequot Lakes High School junior; and Mary Moore, Brainerd High School senior.

Moore won the personal essay part of the pageant, and $100. The essay topic was: “Please look back at this year and elaborate on the positives and negatives of the year. Explain your choices and what you experienced. These examples can be what you have seen with others or what you have experienced.”

The six Miss Nisswa Scholarship Pageant candidates take a final walk before winners are announced Saturday, April 10, 2021. From left are Samantha Jackson, Mary Moore, Brittany Joyce, Nicole Nix, Sonja Palmer and Carsyn Krassas. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Other contestants’ talent performances were:

  • Krassas played drums to “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen.

  • Palmer gave an original presentation on palmistry.

  • Nix sang “Never Enough.”

  • Joyce played “Largo and Allegro Vivace” on the bass clarinet.

  • Moore played “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the piano.

Areas of competition included the essay, personal interview, talent, evening gown and on-stage question.


"When I was waiting, I was really nervous and I was honestly shaking," Jackson said after being crowned. "But it was the coolest experience because Marisa (Mulholland), the past Miss Nisswa, is one of my best friends and she got to crown me. So that was a really special moment for us."

Little Miss Nisswa winners for 2021 are Olivia Waagmeester, Charlotte Halvorson and Lucy Smith, all Nisswa Elementary School second-graders. Other Little Miss candidates were Brynn Uhrich, Josephine Snook and Isla Conkins.

Savannah Cole, of Brainerd, who was Miss Minnesota 2014, served as emcee. Miss Nisswa royalty from 2020 helped onstage and gave farewell speeches: Miss Nisswa Marisa Mulholland, First Princess Courtney Weinrich and Miss Congeniality Olivia Gerber.

Two Little Miss Nisswa girls from 2020 - Ava Becher and Olivia Anderson - also appeared onstage and shared their favorite memories from the past year.

This was the 49th annual Miss Nisswa Nisswa Scholarship Pageant and 30th annual Little Miss Nisswa Program, both presented by the Nisswa Youth Scholarship Organization. Only 80 people were allowed in the audience because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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