February 5, 2009 in Washington Voices

Fab 14 ready for big day

Days of judging, interviews culminate with Lilac royal court coronation on Sunday
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Coronation ceremony

The 2009 Lilac royalty coronation will begin at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Spokane Masonic Center, 1108 W. Riverside. Tickets cost $10 in advance and are available through TicketsWest, 325-SEAT or at the Spokane Lilac Offices, 3021 S. Regal, Suite 105. They will be available at the door for $12.

As little girls sitting along the streets of Spokane for the Torchlight Parade, they dreamed of a chance to ride the float, wearing lilac and waving to the crowds. This weekend 14 young women will compete for the chance to ride that float, either as a Lilac princess or queen.

It’s a process that has been under way since October. Every high school in Spokane County can choose a candidate to represent them.

“Every school has their own process,” said Karene Garlich-Loman, vice president of royalty of the Spokane Lilac Festival Association. Once the schools select their representatives, a panel of five judges – two from the Lilac association and three from the community – interview the candidates and whittle them down to 14.

The Fab 14, as they are called, have been taking classes in modeling, flag etiquette, hair and makeup and speech. This year’s dining etiquette class was canceled, due to the snowstorm in mid-December.

They have also been spending time getting to know each other.

On Friday, the girls will meet for Family Night at the Spokane Masonic Center where they will be asked an impromptu question. On Saturday, the candidates will meet with the judges for one-on-one interviews.

It’s all in preparation for the big event Sunday afternoon. The girls wear evening gowns and will give a two-minute speech. The theme for the speech this year is “Attitude.”

One of the girls will be selected as queen and six of them as princesses.

The 2009 Fab 14 are Hilary Bowen of Valley Christian; Ashley Burke, Lewis and Clark; Catherine Chestnut, Ferris; Shanelle Coffey, Central Valley; Chloe Crittenden, Northwest Christian; Chrissy Emerson, West Valley; Kayla Fencl, Rogers; Aimee Furrie, Mead; Alexis Green, Cheney; Torie Nee, East Valley; Lindsey Peterson, Mt. Spokane; Rawnie Sleizer, Shadle Park; Natale Szabo, Medical Lake and Isabella Taylor, North Central.

Here are your Spokane Valley candidates for the Lilac royal court.

Torie Nee

East Valley High School

18 years old

Have you always wanted to be a Lilac princess or queen?

I’ve wanted to be a Lilac princess since my teacher, Mrs. Kendall, awarded me with the “Most Talkative and Future Lilac Queen” certificate on our last day of fifth grade. Back then, I wanted to be a Lilac princess because that meant I got to wear the pretty dress, sparkling crown and ride on a float, but now it means so much more to me. Spokane is an amazing city that has so much to offer and this city has given me, as well as my peers, endless opportunities. Now, being a Lilac princess is a chance to represent our wonderful city, to give back to my community and even, more importantly, to be a role model for the younger generation.

Where are you planning on attending college?

Although I come from a family of die-hard Coug fans, I hope to attend the University of Arizona next fall, where I will major in physiology and minor in nutritional sciences. Eventually, I’d like to attend medical school in hopes to one day become a pediatric oncologist.

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, volunteering, playing basketball and of course, spending time with my friends and family.

What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with?

I would absolutely love to have lunch with Mark Rypien at Flamin’ Joes. I admire him because he created the Mark Rypien Foundation, a Spokane-based organization that works to provide funding for programs helping to fight childhood cancer, all the while, providing hope to the families of the little ones who do have cancer. It’s an incredible foundation that I hope I can someday be involved in.

Will you have a lucky charm with you when you are at the coronation?

The closest thing to a lucky charm I’ll have with me at the coronation is the silver bracelet my mom gave me. My mom has been there for me through it all and she has never once stopped believing in me. There are a million things I know I couldn’t have done without her by my side and Lilac is one of them. Yet here I am, thanks to her. The bracelet she gave me is pretty simple, but it means so much. It has just three little words engraved on it, “Follow your heart,” something she’s told me since forever.

Hilary Bowen

Valley Christian School

17 years old

Have you always wanted to be a Lilac princess or queen?

I never really considered it when I was younger. I enjoyed the parade, but being on the court seemed unreal. My guidance counselor encouraged me to try out. I’m so glad I did. The Fab 14 is an amazing experience.

Where are you planning on attending college?

Though my number one choice is Trinity Western University in British Columbia, I have not yet made a decision.

What are your hobbies?

I love to rock climb with my dad. We love the local climbing such as Minnehaha and Post Falls, but we’re hoping to take a trip to City of the Rock this spring.

I’m also an avid reader.

What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with?

I would love to discuss art appreciation with Ben Mitchell, the senior curator of art at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture over lunch at the Wild Sage.

Will you have a lucky charm with you when you are at the coronation?

For sure! I will have my trusty teddy, Bobo, with me.

Chrissy Emerson

West Valley High School

17 years old

Have you always wanted to be a Lilac princess or queen?

Yes. I was born and raised in Spokane, so attending the Lilac and Junior Lilac parades has all been very common for my family. Every year, I see the beautiful gowns, the smiling faces and the festive float that the Lilac Association brings to the festival. And what girl doesn’t want to be a princess? However, I never imagined that I would actually be in the running.

Where are you planning on attending college?

I have always known that I am interested in going to a four-year college. Because I want to stay in or near Washington, I aspire to attend one of three colleges that I have applied to: Boise State University, Western Washington University or Eastern Washington University.

What are your hobbies?

I love to stay active in West Valley through numerous extracurricular activities: the main one being cheerleading. I love to be around my close friends and family, going shopping (of course!), and even just relaxing at home when I have my very rare occasions of downtime.

What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with?

Spokane’s mayor, Mary Verner. She is only the third female mayor for Spokane, and I believe she is a very inspirational person. She seems like she would be a strong woman to look up to and, I would assume, could hold a very interesting conversation.

Will you have a lucky charm with you when you are at the coronation?

Ha, funny story. So, Jeanette Thompson, a princess from the royal court of 2008, and I are pretty good friends. She gave me a small coin with a hole drilled in the middle. Through the hole, a purple ribbon is looped and tied. She gave it to me for good luck on the day that I had my very first interview with the Lilac directors — the interview which decided who made it into the Fab 14. I simply put it in my shoe (it was awkward, because I was wearing heels that were a little too big, and to have a little hunk of metal floating around as well? But if it was lucky, it was worth it.). Of course, I was nervous for the interview, not knowing what to expect. Once the interview was over and I thought I had done really good, I went to shake my interviewers’ hands. As I stood up, I stumbled a little and lost one of my shoes. Not sure of how to handle this miniature catastrophe, I pointed out the little random ribbon coin, now exposed on the floor and showed it to everyone. It eased the tension, but I was still really embarrassed! So yes, my lucky charm will walk in my shoe with me on coronation night. I plan to wear shoes that are better fitting, and hope my luck doesn’t pop out of my heel this time.

Shanelle Coffey

Central Valley High School

18 years old

Have you always wanted to be a Lilac princess or queen?

I never really thought this was an option for me, could have a chance at being a Lilac princess, but when I had been nominated by my teachers, Mrs. Hoard and Ms. Riddle, I knew I wanted to be a Lilac princess.

Where are you planning on attending college?

I plan on attending Spokane Community College for two years, then transferring to either Whitworth University or Gonzaga University to get a degree in teaching.

What are your hobbies?

One of my hobbies is running long distance with my great cross country team. I love collecting just about every CD of the Beatles.

What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with?

I would love to have lunch with Mayor Mary Verner at sushi.com. The reason I would choose our mayor is to learn more about her as a person and ask what her plans are for the economics of our city.

Will you have a lucky charm with you when you are at the coronation?

I’ll probably wear my grandma’s wedding ring that my mom received when my grandma passed away two years ago. I wore it when I had my interview to get into the Fab 14, so I guess it’s my lucky charm.


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