They are the next generation of leaders and among the best and brightest selected from hundreds of applicants from across Indiana to usher in the month of May. Meet Marian University’s Madeline Worcester ’23 and Katherine Grabowski ‘22, both named 500 Festival Princesses and advocates for the 500 Festival Organization. “I truly have the honor of a lifetime and I am so grateful for the 500 Festival Organization,” Worcester explained. “I was filled with joy and gratitude about being selected to represent Marian University, Guerin Catholic High School, and my hometown of Westfield, Indiana. I can't wait to start my community outreaches and connecting with so many leaders in our great State of Indiana!”
500 Festival Princess Katherine Grabowski, echoes that remark saying her excitement is an understatement. “Being a part of the iconic 500 Festival Princess Program made me so passionate for all the outreach and service opportunities I will be a part of in the months leading up to May,” she said. “From sponsoring events in my hometown of Terre Haute, at Marian University, and around the Indy area, I am looking forward to giving back to the community, sharing the legacy and spirit of the 500 Festival, and of course the Indianapolis 500.”
The 2022 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by the National Bank of Indianapolis, represents 15 Indiana colleges and universities from 22 Indiana cities and towns. Applying isn’t easy either. From the hundreds of applicants selected, only 33 make the cut with their selection based on communications, academic performance, (all 33 princesses have an overall 3.62-grade point average), leadership, community service, and more.
“The 500 Festival is eager to kick off the 2022 season of events with our newly selected princess class,” said Bob Bryant, 500 Festival president and CEO. “We are proud to provide these 33 women with an unforgettable month of May experience where they get the opportunity to learn, lead, and give back to Indiana communities.”
With that said, you can imagine being named a 500 Festival Princess is tough work too. In addition to college studies, activities, and local speaking engagements, they will be given many opportunities to grow professionally and gain mentorship from the 500 Festival Board of Directors and develop leadership skills within their communities. Each 500 Festival Princess also receives a $1,000 scholarship.
“No other race compares to the community organizing, philanthropy, and celebration of the Indy 500, and being a 500 Festival Princess is a way to be a part of that tradition, Grabowski, a senior communications major said. “I hope through my community service efforts and events, I can inspire others to also engage with their communities.”
“My plan of action is to recruit young women to this organization and have many talks with high school and local Indiana college young women to support the 500 Festival Princess Program,” Worcester, a marketing major added. “You also gain a new family and can build strong friendships.”
It’s those connections of creating a lifetime of memories, and meaningful connections 500 Festival Princesses enjoy. Overall, they conduct more than 1,500 community outreaches impacting more than 50,000 people during their statewide program, which educates Hoosiers about the history of the 500 Festival and the legacy of the Indianapolis 500.
“Both of us are really looking forward to race day Memorial Day weekend and the iconic Indy 500 race known all across the world. It really is a dream come true to be a part of it all,” Grabowski added.
To request speaking opportunities, contact 500 Festival Program Director Laura Bliss at firstname.lastname@example.org