Being a Lilac Princess isn’t just an opportunity to ride on the float during the Torchlight Parade in May.
It is a year of making appearances at hospitals, showing up for volunteer opportunities and appearing in local parades throughout the area. They are ambassadors of the city.
Sunday night, seven young ladies were selected to be on the Lilac Royal Court for 2009 – Aimee Furrie, Mead, Alexis Green, Cheney, Hilary Bowen, Valley Christian, Ashley Burke, Lewis and Clark, Isabella Taylor, North Central, and Natale Szabo, Medical Lake were selected as the six princesses. Their queen, Chloe Crittenden, is from Northwest Christian.
Each of the girls is heavily involved in extracurricular activities at their schools and volunteering in her community.
Selected by their high schools, 14 girls competed for the chance to be on the court Sunday night. During the three days of competition, the girls were judged on their sociability, speaking ability, personality, integrity, pre-interview skills, stage presence, overall appearance, their written application, preparedness and the judge’s discretion.
Sunday night, each of the girls spoke for two minutes on the theme of “Attitude.”
“These girls really have something to say,” said Julie Humphreys of KHQ, the mistress of ceremonies Sunday night.
Furrie, a senior at Mead High School, spoke about how her attitude got her through the many different moves she has made as a military brat.
She said she has attended four elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools and learned that having an attitude of selflessness and going out of her way to show compassion helped her to make friends.
Holding a door open for someone or digging a car out of the snow can go a long way to show people that you care.
Green, a senior at Cheney High School, talked about how she expected to compete in the ceremony with her father and her sister in the audience. Since then, both of them have passed away. She had to ask herself, “should I go to school?” or “am I strong enough to be in Lilac?”
Green said the negative path of life would have been much easier, but she learned from both her dad and her sister that it was OK to have fun and live life.
Bowen, a senior at Valley Christian School, said she learned how to have a good attitude in life from a 7-year-old impoverished girl in Guatemala, where Bowen volunteered.
“She was the friend reaching out to me,” Bowen said. The girl’s confidence taught Bowen that the “attitude of love” and compassion will get her far in life.
Burke, from Lewis and Clark, said her mother taught her that having a good attitude could help her make it through a nerve-wracking piano competition in the eighth grade.
She also quoted from another woman who had a large influence on her life when she was little – Mary Poppins.
“For every job that must be done there is an element of fun,” Burke quoted. Having a good attitude got her through many scary tasks such as competing in the Royal Court Coronation. But her attitude changed making a scary speech in front of a large crowd to a comfortable conversation with friends.
Taylor, from North Central, said she learned that having a good attitude can inspire others from her ice skating coach who meets her every morning with a smile. Her coach always shows support for his students and believes in them, making Taylor realize she can believe in herself.
“Right here, right now, with this attitude within me, I aspire for purple,” Taylor said.
Szabo, from Medical Lake, talked about how easy it would have been to surrender to a bleak future after losing her mother to breast cancer.
“Attitude is the on and off switch of life,” Szabo said. “What justice was I doing her by living in the dark?”
“Not cherishing every single moment is the biggest injustice you can give yourself. I’m choosing to live with the switch on,” she said.
The crowd at the Spokane Masonic Center Sunday night gave the girls a standing ovation after their speeches. It was their first appearance as Lilac Princesses, but it is just the first of many over the next year, concluding with an appearance at next year’s coronation, when six more princesses and one more queen will be crowned.