Laura Kaeppeler was named Miss America 2012 on the night of January 14, 2012. Laura Kaeppeler is a Wisconsin native who attended St. Joseph High School and then graduated in 2010 from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with a degree in Music and an emphasis in Vocal Performance. She began working as Director of Music Ministries for Northside Bible Church in Kenosha while teaching music privately, and in June of 2011 she entered and won the Miss Wisconsin pageant. In January 2012 she went to the national pageant in Las Vegas, where she performed an operatic aria to “Il Bacio” as her talent and did the usual wearing of bathing suits and evening gowns. It worked: she was named Miss America 2012. She succeeded Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan.
Laura Kaeppeler has plans to “pursue a master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology,” according to the Miss Wisconsin website. The same site says that Kaeppeler “is a life-long suffering Cubs fan” and is a “coffee junkie” whose favorite movie is White Christmas… Second place in the 2012 Miss America Pageant went to Miss Oklahoma, Betty Thompson… Laura Kaeppeler’s father, Jeff Kaeppeler told the Associated Press after his win that he had spent 18 months in federal prison after being convicted of mail fraud. Federal prison records indicate that Kaeppeler was released from prison on June 2, 2008. Laura Kaeppeler made families of prison inmates her special cause for the Miss America pageant.