Writer / Renee Larr
The month of May in Indiana is steeped in tradition around the Indy 500. Each year, 33 college-aged women are selected as 500 Festival Princesses and serve as ambassadors for the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges and universities. Noblesville resident Lexi Leisure was one of the ambitious young women selected to participate this year.
“I heard about the program from some of my sorority sisters in Alpha Omicron Pi at Ball State,” Leisure says. “They were past princesses and really enjoyed the experience. I applied last year and didn’t get the opportunity, so I applied this year and was chosen.”
In order to be selected, the young women must maintain a cumulative college grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. They’re also expected to be involved in at least one worthwhile extracurricular college or community service activity. Leisure is actively engaged in activities at Ball State.
“I’m on the homecoming steering committee,” Leisure says. “I’ve held various leadership positions in my sorority. I’m currently the director of new member experience and recruitment data coordinator. I’ve always stayed busy while in college.”
The title comes with a significant time commitment for each participant. The women are expected to attend many events related to the 500 Festival throughout the month of May. Each 500 Festival Princess is responsible for community outreach within her hometown, college town or Indianapolis. They work closely with the 500 Festival staff to develop messaging, talking points and presentations.
“I’ve already scheduled five or six community outreach programs,” Leisure says. “I’m going to speak to my sorority about the 500 Festival Princess program to encourage others to apply. I’m also doing a lot of programs with kids as I’m an elementary education major. The younger kids will be creating a tiara, and for the older kids I’m doing a ‘Jeopardy’-style game about the 500 Festival.”
The 2018 Noblesville High School graduate is honored to be chosen and relishes the opportunities bestowed on a 500 Festival Princess.
“I’m so excited to meet all the other women chosen,” Leisure says. “I’ve gained a lot of connections throughout the state of Indiana and I’m learning so much about the traditions that go along with the 500. I’ve actually never been, so this will be my first year attending. I’m so excited to go.”
Leisure hopes to be a teacher in the future and would love to move to the administration side of education.
“I’ve always wanted to be in a classroom, but I could also see myself going into administration and running a school,” Leisure says. “I have two minors right now. One is English as a second language, and the other is for gifted and talented students. I could see myself as a resource teacher pulling kids out of the classroom to work on individualized things.”
For more information, visit 500festival.com.
Student Spotlight is sponsored by Kluth Richardson Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.