January 27, 2011 in Washington Voices

More than crowns, Lilac contest is social

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Valley Lilac Festival candidates back row, left to right: Porscha Smith, University; Christa Gentili, The Oaks Christian Academy; and Brianna Bogart, Valley Christian. Front row, left to right: Katie Mandler, Gonzaga Prep, and Kaleigh Fox, Central Valley.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

The 2011 Royalty Coronation will be Sunday at the Spokane Masonic Center, 1108 W. Riverside Ave., at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at www.spokane lilacfestival.org.

Since 1938, accomplished young women from throughout Spokane County have been selected to serve as princesses and queen of the Spokane Lilac Festival. This year, 14 high school girls have been chosen to compete for the crowns Sunday.

The “Fab 14,” as they are called, have been attending classes to learn table etiquette, self-defense, makeup tips and modeling, stress management and conflict resolution.

The self-defense class included lessons in the Kubotan, a stick about 6 inches long attached to their key rings.

“I really liked self-defense,” said Chloe Dugger of Ferris High School.

Members of last year’s Lilac Court held a dinner for the candidates and served them hard-to-eat food to test their table etiquette.

They ate spaghetti, an iceberg lettuce wedge salad with cherry tomatoes and bread.

“We had to take really, really small bites,” Dugger said.

They have become friends – 14 girls who may not have met if not for being part of the Fab 14.

In fact, it will be hard for them to say goodbye to the seven “Spring Free” girls – those who aren’t appointed to the Lilac Court – after the coronation ceremony.

“Definitely, that’s bittersweet,” said Sydne Alegria from North Central High School.

“They take a lot away with them, too,” chaperone Gloria Fox said of the Spring Free group. “Sometimes they come back and speak to the girls.”

Along with the classes, the girls are spending time volunteering at various community events. They helped at the Santa Express, First Night and at Toys for Tots in Coeur d’Alene.

“This is the finest organization I’ve been through,” Samantha Williams of Medical Lake said.

The 2011 Fab 14 is Kaysha Lybecker, Rogers; MacKenzie Johnson, Mead; Courtney Vander Linden, Mt. Spokane; Rayanne Shears, Shadle Park; Sydne Alegria, North Central; Chloe Dugger, Ferris; Amanda Cash, Lewis and Clark; Katherine Verkovod, Cheney; Samantha Williams, Medical Lake; Brianna Bogart, Valley Christian, Kaleigh Fox, Central Valley; Porscha Smith, University; Katie Mandler, Gonzaga Prep; Christa Gentili; The Oaks.

Brianna Bogart

Valley Christian School

17 years old

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

A: No, I used to think only the pretty girls got to be a Lilac queen/princess, so I thought there was no way I could be one.

Q: Where are you planning on attending college?

A: I have not made my final decision yet, but it will be a four-year university.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: Soccer, volleyball, basketball, traveling and scrapbooking.

Q: What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with? Why? Where?

A: I would love to have lunch with Rick Steltenpohl, the executive director of Hoopfest. We would have to eat at Olive Garden, my favorite restaurant. Hoopfest is one of my favorite events to attend, so I would like to ask how it got started and what it is like to plan it.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the Fab 14?

A: Meeting and getting to know the other Fab 14 girls and doing Santa Express where we get to shop with younger kids.

Kaleigh Fox

Central Valley High School

18 years old

Q: Have you always wanted to be a Lilac queen/princess?

A: Yes, especially since I found out the role of Cinderella was taken.

Q: Where are you planning on attending college?

A: Boise State University.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: Musical and non-musical theater, competitive club soccer, picking up garbage and walking my dog.

Q: What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with? Why? Where?

A: Shelly Monahan. Possibly looking into a career in newscasting, she makes my waking up worthwhile. I would take her to Cyrus O’Leary’s. You can’t go wrong with that.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being on the Fab 14?

A: Getting to know all of the fabulous people who are associated with the Lilac Festival.

The Oaks Classical Christian Academy

17 years old

Q: Have you always wanted to be a Lilac Queen or Princess?

A: I knew I wanted to be part of the Lilac Court when I saw last year’s parade. I admire Jade (Heidinger) and the other ladies on the 2010 Court.

Q: Where are you planning on attending college?

A: My hopes are to attend either Washington State University or Eastern Washington University.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I love playing piano, cooking and swimming. I am also a Dance Dance Revolution master.

Q: What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with? Why? Where?

A: Eckart Preu. He is a phenomenal conductor and I love going to hear the Spokane Symphony play. We would go to Taste Café.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being on the Fab 14?

A: Getting to know and form friendships with the other Fab 14 girls has been my favorite part of this experience.

Katie Mandler

Gonzaga Prep

17 years old

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

A: Since I found out about the Lilac program a little over a year ago, I have wanted nothing more than to represent Spokane on the Royal Court.

Q: Where are you planning to attend college?

A: I plan to attend either Boston College or Gonzaga University.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, learning new languages such as Italian, Yiddish and Spanish, as well as volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club coaching cheerleading.

Q: What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with? Why? Where?

A: If I could have lunch with any Spokane public figure, I would treat Robyn Nance, the KXLY 4 news anchor, to lunch at Picabu to pick her brain about the world of broadcasting.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being on the Fab 14?

A: My favorite thing about being on the Fab 14 is knowing I’m a part of a 72-year-long tradition.

Porscha Smith

University High School

17 years old

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

A: Of course! I remember admiring them ever since I was little when I would watch them glide by at the Lilac Torchlight Parade every year.

Q: Where are you planning on attending college?

A: At this point, I’m not sure, hopefully somewhere on the East Coast. Most of the acceptance letters will come in the spring; however, I am just relieved to finally be done applying, rather than waiting in anticipation for acceptance letters.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I love tennis, dancing and reading! I also truly enjoy old movies and going to parks.

Q: What Spokane public figure would you like to have lunch with? Why? Where?

A: I think having lunch with our Spokane Mayor Mary Verner would be a fabulous afternoon. I would like to hear more about her personal experience with the responsibility of being mayor and what she loves about it. I would take her to Lindaman’s. They have incredible salads and coffee.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being on the Fab 14?

A: As part of the Fab 14, I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming friends with the 13 other wonderful girls. It has been such a gift to have 13 other lovely ladies to enjoy this journey with.


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