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Washington Voices

Kaylee Pearson crowned Lilac Queen

Kaylee Pearson, from Ferris High School, takes her seat as the 2014 Lilac Queen on Sunday, at the Bing Crosby Theater. (Jesse Tinsley)
Kaylee Pearson, from Ferris High School, takes her seat as the 2014 Lilac Queen on Sunday, at the Bing Crosby Theater. (Jesse Tinsley)

After a weekend of interviews, speeches and a whirlwind of activities, Kaylee Pearson of Ferris High School was chosen as the 2014 Lilac Queen.

“The weekend was amazing,” she said. “It’s honestly kind of a blur.”

Pearson was chosen from 14 teens during Sunday’s Royal Coronation Ceremony. Part of the selection process was to give a speech about teamwork.

Her speech centered around the time last summer when she worked on a farm in Lind, Wash., driving a combine. She said when she first arrived at the farm it was hard for her being away from her family for the first time. She felt very alone until she opened herself up to others and started to make friends. Working together made the summer a lot more productive and enjoyable.

“I really couldn’t do it by myself,” she said.

The 17-year-old senior said she likes to keep busy. She is a cheerleader, on the link crew, which helps incoming freshmen make the transition into high school, and working with English language learners. She used to be on the volleyball team but realized she was too short to be very successful. On weekends, she’s a Sunday school teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

She also volunteers on the teen board of the Ronald McDonald House, a charity very close to her heart. Her family stayed there when her brother Kenyon was diagnosed with cancer. She and her family lived in Clarkston at the time and the family was in Spokane off and on for two years while he received treatment.

“I unfortunately did lose my big brother,” she said.

Since then, she felt like she needed to give something back to the charity.

Being involved in Lilac royalty hadn’t been a lifelong dream for Pearson. Her mother, Kathy, heard about the scholarships the Spokane Lilac Festival awards the royalty and liked that.

Her friend, Michelle Tatko, was a princess last year and answered all of her questions.

She also has a cheerleading coach, Wylie Patton Rhoads, who was queen in 2007. Pearson said her coach has been very supportive of her decision to join the court.

It’s a busy time of year for any high school senior. Pearson is making plans to attend either Washington State University or Seattle University in the fall to study nursing. She now has her duties as Lilac queen to add to the planning of her future.

She’s looking forward to continuing to build her relationships with the other six young women on the court. She knows the next year will be filled with a lot of work as a representative of the community and the Spokane Lilac Festival, and she is looking forward to all of it.

“I’m just excited for whatever is to come,” she said.

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