Ever since I was a little girl I have held an affinity for princesses. The gorgeous crown is enough to entrance any little girl and The Azalea Festival has been and always will be my favorite time of the year in Wilmington. I love the warm weather, the beautiful flowers, and the exciting events. It’s hard not to love a festival that has such a wide variety of attractions.
I have always looked up to the lucky girls who got the privilege of wearing the Azalea Festival Princess crown and sash. Even though I was quite persistent, my parents never allowed me to be a pageant girl, promising that I could participate in the Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant when I was a junior in high school. They never thought that day would come, but it did, and it was the best day of my life thus-far. During the Sunday afternoon meetings with Mrs. Kande and Mrs. Amy, I met so many wonderful young ladies that I learned so much from. Going into pageant day I felt well prepared and ready to showcase how much I had grown. The day started with an interview which was exciting because I enjoy talking to people and the judges made it fly by.
After my interview, I could not wait for the night ahead and started getting ready right away. My parents gave me a special ring to remember this life-changing experience no matter what the outcome might have been and I pinned it inside the pocket of my dress as a good luck charm. The rest of the night was all a blur until the very end. When it got down to the top five – Claudia Webb, Jamie Baracelli, Reagan Radford, Caroline Shaver, and I – I came to the exciting realization that we would get to represent the festival together. Standing on that stage I was confident that whoever walked away with the crown would be an outstanding representative of our community. When I watch the videos or look at pictures I can still feel the rush of emotions that came over me when I was crowned. It was a feeling immense joy and gratitude that I hope I will never forget.
Thank you to all of the past princesses who played a role in the pageant, especially Emma Grace Wright for being so sweet and encouraging while passing the crown to me; she definitely left some big shoes to fill. Thank you to my family and friends for coming to support me. Thank you to Mrs. Kande, Mrs. Amy, and Mrs. Christy for volunteering their time to help all of us shine. Thank you to Angela Brown for giving the most amazing advice and helping me become a well-spoken and poised young lady. Thank you to the amazingly talented Bethany McElroy for her gorgeous makeup and hair. And of course a huge thank you to all of the festival volunteers, including the youth committee for putting on the pageant. Without the help of countless volunteers, the festival would not be possible, which is why I am so extremely proud to be the recipient of the Beverly Anne Jurgensen Scholarship Award. She was the perfect example of selflessness and compassion and I hope to share her legacy with others. Being the 2018 Azalea Festival Princess is the most exciting experience and I am so grateful that I get to share it with each of you. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. xoxo!!