500 Festival Princess in 2005, I never dreamed it would end up being such a prominent influence on my life. It extended well beyond those four busy months of activity.
First milestone: I realized I'd gained a truly valuable group of friends when, for my birthday shortly after that Indy 500, these young women stepped up to celebrate with me when my school friends backed out.
Next milestone: I was part of a group, made up mostly of this new group of friends, who founded the Princess Partners program. It's a mentor program, through which each current Princess is paired with an alumna to guide her through the process.
And now? This same group of motivated young women has initiated an official Princess Alumni Association. We met for the first time last weekend with Princesses represented from every decade -- including a Princess from the very first year in 1960. We agreed on a mission, which includes raising money to fund more scholarships for the Princesses, a concept that's very important to me. We created committees (of course), divided up responsibilities -- and I can't wait to see where this goes.
Camera: Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/3.5 at ISO 1000