During the final two months of their senior year, many high school students hope to coast to the finish line. College plans have largely been made and senioritis is typically in full bloom.
But for the members of the Lebanon Strawberry Festival Court, the months of April and May are some of the busiest, most eventful times in their lives. In addition to their already full lives, the princesses take on the role of Lebanon's ambassadors.
The court visits schools, boys and girls clubs and senior homes throughout the mid-valley. In addition, they serve as guests of honor at community events such as fundraisers and the annual Distinguished Service Awards.
Court coordinator Andrea Bruce said this year's court will make approximately 35 appearances before the festival. Bruce was a member of the court in 2005 and now enjoys leading these young women through this intense process.
The court members bring impressive resumes of academic performance, athletic and/or artistic excellence, and community service. This year, three of the five members of the court are valedictorians.
Still, Bruce can see them grow into their roles as princesses.
"It's probably one of my favorite parts, seeing this growth," Bruce said. "They are always growing. They become better role models, better public speakers."
This year there were 29 candidates for the five court positions. Bruce said the annual visits to the elementary schools often inspire future court candidates.
"I think the Strawberry Festival is a great tradition in Lebanon. Every year, the girls make a great impression on kids," Bruce said.