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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Lilac Festival queen ‘thrilled’ in new role to empower youth, honor military

The Spokane Lilac Festival's Royal Court's new queen, Julia McIntyre, a student at Gonzaga Preparatory School, poses for a photo on Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Spokane, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The Spokane Lilac Festival's Royal Court's new queen, Julia McIntyre, a student at Gonzaga Preparatory School, poses for a photo on Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Julia McIntyre’s rise to the ranks of local royalty had humble beginnings.

The 18-year-old Gonzaga Preparatory School student was scrolling through the school’s bulletin one day when she stumbled upon an application for the Spokane Lilac Festival’s 2021 Royal Court. Intrigued, McIntyre said she investigated further, finding enough to interest her in joining.

“I started doing more research into the (Spokane Lilac Festival Association) and really just what they do for our community,” said McIntyre, a Spokane native. “Being able to empower our youth and honor our military are very strong ideals that I found myself identifying with and I wanted to be a part of it.”

McIntyre, a 4.0 GPA member of the National Honor Society and a volunteer tutor, is the vice president of Gonzaga Prep’s Associated Student Body and Ancilla, a women’s service group. She’s also a member of the Gonzaga Prep basketball and track teams, earning the 2020 U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete Award. Her parents are Matty and Andrea McIntyre.

McIntyre secured a spot on the festival’s Royal Court following a six-week period of training and community service that narrowed down a list of 12 candidates to the court’s seven members.

And after impressing a panel of judges, the Spokane native was coronated the 2021 “Destination Spokane” queen of the Lilac Festival’s Royal Court.

The coronation took place last week at Spokane First Church. As queen, McIntyre said her job is to be a strong role model.

“It’s a tremendous honor. I could not be more thrilled and excited for the spring to come,” she said. “It really means, to me, that I get to be in service to others and represent the amazing community that is Spokane.”

Kim Johnson, vice president of royalty for the Spokane Lilac Festival, said the judges faced a difficult decision in choosing this year’s queen.

Johnson said association directors placed their votes last week during a family night, which accounted for 40% of scores for the queen’s selection. The remainder was tallied on coronation day from the finalists’ responses to a warm-up question and prepared speeches on a shared topic, “Together is our favorite place to be.”

All Royal Court members will receive college scholarships furnished by the festival and other entities.

“We are a team. It is a team effort,” McIntyre said. “Really, each member is going to play a crucial role in all of our activities throughout the spring, so really fostering an environment where everyone feels like they have a voice and can contribute is super important to me as queen.”

McIntyre, who hasn’t yet chosen where she wants to go to college, said she’s interested in majoring in biology with a psychology minor at a four-year institution.

Inspired by her AP Biology teacher Karen Round to pursue a science career, McIntyre said she’s always had a passion for the subject.

“I think a huge part of any career is recognizing those around you and who you’re working with. I am so pleased to say that I am working with six other incredible young women,” she said. “I think just being able to build and foster those relationships will carry over in any other career path I choose.”

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