INDIANAPOLIS -- During Opening Day Ceremonies Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Megan McManama of Indianapolis was crowned as the 2003 500 Festival Queen. A Brazil resident, Jennilee Hooker, daughter of Louis Hooker of Brazil and Linnie Archer, of Terre Haute, was named a 500 festival princess in February. Jennilee is a senior business marketing major at Indiana State University.
"It's been a lot of fun," Jennilee said Sunday. "Thirty-three girls represent the state and I get to be one of them."
Also chosen to be a princess this year was Amanda Ferguson, a junior psychology major at Indiana University from Rockville, Ind.
A princess' responsibility is to be a spokesperson for the 500 Festival.
"We go to the events and do a lot of volunteer work," Jennilee said..
The girls were reminded the 500 is not Indianapolis' race but Indiana's race. "So, we get to also represent our communities. It's a good opportunity to get involved," said Jennilee.
The new queen, Megan McManama is one of 33 young women who the 500 Festival has selected to represent her hometown and the state of Indiana, according to a press release. Princess Crystal Roberts from Indianapolis, a junior arts admistration major at Butler University, and Princess Stephanie Irick from Carmel, a junior at elementary education major at Purdue University, were chosen as 2003 court members for the queen.
McManama, who is a junior at Indiana State University, is studying radio, TV and film. She graduated from Perry Meridian High School and is the daughter of David and Cheryl McManama.
As queen, McManama will serve as an ambassador of Indiana at all 500 Festival events during race week and represent the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The princesses and queen attend 500 Festival events and volunteer programs throughout the month of May, in addition to involvement with outreach programs of their choosing. They don glamorous gowns and ride on the Princess Float in the 500 Festival Parade. In addition, they are present at various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions and participate in the Indianapolis 500 Victory Circle Celebration.
This year's 500 Festival princesses represent 12 Indiana colleges and universities, 22 hometowns and have a cumulative GPA of 3.44. The young women were selected from more than 176 applicants based on communication skills, poise, academic performance and community and volunteer involvement.
The queen and each member of her court have received a tiara and custom-made jewelry from G. Thrapp Jewelers and clothing compliments of Bren Simon, the Finish Line and St. Clair.
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The 2003 500 Festival princesses are:
- Jennilee Hooker, daughter of Louis Hooker of Brazil and Linnie Archer, of Terre Haute, a senior business marketing major at Indiana State University.
- Amanda Ferguson, a junior psychology major at Indiana University from Rockville, Ind.
- Holly Bauser, a senior biology/chemistry major at Butler from Crown Point, Ind.
- Brandy Barto, a junior nursing major at IUPUI from Memphis, Ind.
- Ashli Benjamin, a junior political science major at Indiana University from Carmel, Ind.
-Katherine Beyer, a junior political science major at Indiana University from Indianapolis
-Amanda Brettnacher, a junior public relations/political science major at Purdue University from Mishawaka, Ind.
- Kristin Coffing, a junior recreations/sports management major at Indiana State University from Indianapolis
- Cara Cunningham, a senior telecommunications major at Ball State University from Covington, Ind.
- Kaleena Dale, a freshman public relations major at Vincennes University from Vincennes, Ind.
- Aja Dunlap, a junior elementary education major at Indiana University from Indianapolis
- Nichole Freije, a junior public and corporate communications major at Butler University from Carmel, Ind.
- Krista Frost, a sophomore psychology major at Indiana State University from Greenwood, Ind.
- Kristen Graham, a junior nursing major at Indiana University-Kokomo from Kokomo, Ind.
- Colleen Hatcher, a sophomore theological studies major at Hanover College from Indianapolis
- Kelby Hicks, a senior public relations/communications major at Purdue University from New Palestine, Ind.
- Lyndsey Johnson, a sophomore biology/pre-medicine major at Butler University from Auburn, Ind.
- Stephanie Kinser, a senior elementary education major at Butler University from New Castle, Ind.
- Christin Meador, a senior elementary education major at Ball State University from Indianapolis
- Ambra Neier, a sophomore agriculture education major at Purdue University from Coatesville, Ind.
- Megan Richards, a senior nursing major at Indiana University from Bloomington, Ind.
- Betsy Rusk, a sophomore speech communications/public relations major at Indiana State University from Frankfort, Ind.
- Faith Schooley, a junior theater/drama major at Indiana University from Indianapolis
- Casey Stafford, a junior public relations/communications studies major at Butler University from South Bend, Ind.
- Kate Stephanoff, a junior elementary education major at Indiana University from Cicero, Ind.
- Lindsay Templeton, a sophomore secondary education major at Indiana University from Greenwood, Ind.
- Ariel Usrey, a junior art education major at Purdue University from Sullivan, Ind.
- Mari Yamaguchi, a sophomore exercise science/physical therapy major at IUPUI from Indianapolis
- Carolyn Yoder, a sophomore political science major at Purdue University from Auburn, Ind.
- Gwyn Zawisza, a senior art administration/music major at Indiana University from West Lafayette, Ind.
The 500 Festival was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the Indianapolis 500. It is a not-for-profit organization supported by corporate sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales. Thousands of volunteers help produce 500 Festival events. With annual participation of more than 400,000 people from around Indiana and the world, it has grown to be one of the largest festivals in the nation.