Kendall Schoenekase, of Overland Park and a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Nursing, is Miss Kansas 2016. She earned the title Saturday night before a capacity crowd at Pratt Community College, and following a week of competition and activities.
She was a preliminary swimsuit and eveningwear winner, and performed a vocal, “Ain’t No Sunshine” for her talent. She receives a $13,500 scholarship from The Peoples Bank.
Earlier in the week she was recognized as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals state Miracle Maker, was a finalist for the Tara Dawn Holland Miss Kansas Quality of Life award, and received an academic scholarship from the Miss America Organization.
She plans to continue her education to receive a doctorate of nursing practice.
Because of her involvement in an accident with a texting driver, she has made it her mission to educate people about the dangers when drivers take their eyes off the road.
Her career as a registered nurse will be on hold for the next year as she competes in the Miss America Pageant in September and completes her year of service.
Cassie Lohmeyer, 21, of Benton and a Wichita State University student, was the first runner up, moving up from a third runner up position in 2015.
Krystian Fish, 19, of Wichita and a student at Butler Community College, was the second runner up and won the outstanding vocalist award for an opera selection. She also competed in 2014.
Cari Anne Cashon, 22 of Wichita, was the third runner up and winner of preliminary talent and outstanding instrumentalist awards for a spirited piano selection, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
In her final year of eligibility, Jennifer Salva, 24, of Olathe, was the fourth runner up. She was a finalist in 2014 and 2015.
The pageant marked the 75th year to crown a Miss Kansas and several former titleholders were present during the week. Special performances from Amy Keller Wray (1995), Tara Dawn Holland-Christensen (1996 and Miss America 1997), and Kimberly Grice-Setser (2001) as well as Kansas’ first Outstanding Teen, Haley Hannah, highlighted the Saturday show.
At the beginning of the evening, 75 Sunflower Princesses, age 5-12, were escorted to the stage by their fathers or other male role models. At the next level, 21 young women age 13-17 competed for Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen, who will represent the state in the national pageant in Florida in August.