McKinley Lanier, a junior from E.A. Laney High School, was crowned the 2022 North Carolina Azalea Festival Princess during the 74th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, March 5th. The event was held at Kenan Auditorium on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. McKinley is the daughter of Rodney and Glynnis Lanier. She and her court were selected from among 12 contestants representing 5 area high schools. The court members include the following: 1st Runner-Up from E.A. Laney High School, Devon Jones, 2nd Runner-Up, from Ashley High School, Ruby Moulton, 3rd Runner-Up, from Wilmington Early College, Rileigh Pedersen, and 4th Runner-Up, from John T. Hoggard High School, Maia Cankurtaran.
At Laney, McKinley is involved in the Beta Club and the dance team. She is also in the dual-enrollment program at Cape Fear Community College. She is a competitive dancer, member of the Azalea Festival Youth Committee and a state volunteer for the Cue Center for Missing Person’s Safe and Found program. After graduation, she plans to go to college to pursue a degree Political Science and later attend law school.
This year, Junior and Senior girls from area high schools competed for the title based on a private interview with judges, evening gown competition and on-stage presentation. The Princess is the recipient of the Beverly Anne Jurgensen Scholarship Award, named after the beloved Past President of the NC Azalea Festival. She will also have the option of a professional teeth whitening service, compliments of Dr. Sarah Pless at Renaissance Dental Studio.