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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Lilac Queen Madeleine Froese comes to crown through adversity

Lilac Festival Queen Madeleine Froese, upper left, introduces her court to the crowd at a luncheon Friday at the Centennial Hotel. Froese and her court will participate in the Lilac Festival’s annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade Saturday. At right is KHQ-TV weathercaster Jenny Powers.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Lewis and Clark High School senior Madeleine Froese never thought she would be the Lilac Queen of Spokane.

She thinks of herself as quiet, shy and introverted. Certainly not the type to get in front of a large crowd to give a speech. But as she prepares to walk Saturday in the annual Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, Froese is grateful for the newfound confidence she has found being on the 2024 “Dare to Dream” royal court.

“These past several months have been a whirlwind of exciting new memories, and we’ve been building to this weekend for a long time now. This is a time where dreams are coming true and new bold dreams will take flight,” she told a luncheon of current and former Lilac Queens Friday afternoon.

Froese plans to attend Whitworth University next fall to study education. She hopes to become a teacher for elementary school students – a vocation she knew she wanted since she was in first grade. The high school senior hopes the lessons in public speaking she learned while becoming Lilac Queen will help her in that endeavor.

“Being in Lilac, we’ve had to do speeches, we’ve done speech training and those things have stuck with me. And I know that will help me as I do so many presentations in college and eventually start getting up in front of kids,” she said.

Froese will also be helped by the $35,000 in scholarships raised by the Lilac Festival for the Queen and six other high schoolers on the royal court.

The 2024 Royal Court Princesses are as follows:

  • Kate Wolf – Mead High School
  • Livi Bennet – Mt. Spokane High School
  • Chloe Matteson – West Valley High School
  • Olivia Cassie – University High School
  • Katie Payne – East Valley High School
  • Kwynci Peters – Gonzaga Preparatory

Froese has faced plenty of adversity throughout her high school career. She entered Lewis and Clark as a freshman during the COVID shutdowns. At the same time, she faced her own medical crisis.

As an adolescent, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in what she described as a “life-threatening situation.”

“I had this thing happen to me that really rocked my world, but I couldn’t connect with others, and that was really, really hard,” she remembered. “I was a freshman, newly diagnosed, living in a pandemic where people are separated.”

Now she looks back and sees “so much growth and resilience” that was built through that hardship.

Even with diabetes, Froese got involved in high school track and field, which has become a passion. She hopes her ascension as Lilac Queen can inspire others who still feel weighed down by the aftershocks of the 2020 lockdown.

“What I would want to say to my younger self is to stick with it. It’s so hard when you are in the midst of struggle,” Froese said. “And I know that because I’ve been there. You don’t want to hear it will get better. But it will, and it’s important to push yourself into your next chapter.”

The parade through downtown will take place Saturday evening beginning at 7:30 .