Maryfest officials crowned three local youth as this year's Strawberry Festival Royalty on March 14. They are Queen Jimena Yanez, Princess Grace Kyser and Princess Katelyn Leary.

Due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak the organization had to hold a scaled-back pageant this year with significantly limited seats, but they were able to crown three winners to represent Marysville this year.

Queen Jimena Yanez is a former Junior Royalty member with the Strawberry Festival Court.

"I did it when I was in eighth grade and I had a really awesome time," said Yanez. "I got to meet so many children and that was an amazing experience."

At her school she is a member of the National Honor Society, vice-president of the Band Council and president of Spanish Club.

"I'm a part of National Honor Society, and that encompasses a lot where I tutor in the community and volunteer for them," said Yanez.

At 10th Street Middle School she volunteers to students.

"I help out the teachers or the kids and I do one-on-one tutoring," she said.

Princess Grace Kyser is a junior at Marysville Getchell High School.

She hoped to be a part of the Strawberry Festival Court because she looked up to past queens, kings and princesses.

"I looked through the magazines and thought 'I want to be that person,'" said Kyser.

"I wanted to be able to read to kids or travel to cool places," she said.

She hopes to go to Central Washington University and eventually become a first-grade teacher.

Every Friday she volunteers as a carter at the Marysville Community Food Bank.

"I push around the cart and show people what food they can take," said Kyser. "I like really talking to people because you learn about their life stories and everything they've experience."

The other Princess is Katelyn Leary, who is a junior at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

"I've always looked up to the Marysville Royalty and thought 'maybe I could be up there, too,'" said Leary.

"They've always inspired me because it means girls can do great in our community," she said.

Leary hopes to become a fighter pilot for the Navy or Air Force.

She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and has a Silver and Gold Presidential Service Award.

At Allen Creek Elementary she volunteers in her mother's classroom.

"I always help with their spelling tests and there's a couple of kids who always struggle, so sometimes I help them spell out words," said Leary.

This year there were nine strong candidates for the Royalty and Maryfest board member Sandie Phipps thanked them all for their hard work during a rehearsal on March 12.

All of the candidates are youth involved in the community and help out in local schools.

Candidate Ismarie Cuiriz volunteers at Cascade Elementary as a Big Buddy who mentors students.

"I really want to be a teacher there as soon as I get my bachelor's degree," she said.

Candidate Aaron Able also tutors students of various ages.

"I've seen a lot of progress in how they're going to do more problems," he said.

Former Junior Royalty member and candidate Zinnead Morales helps out at her old middle school.

"I love to volunteer in the middle school I used to go to," she said.

Other candidates like Victoria Wilde are involved in their community in other ways.

Wilde helps with the Letter Carriers Food Drive and sorts the food. "They don't know who it's going to, but they leave the food out," she said.

Candidate Abigail Jeskey worked an internship at Summit Rehabilitation, which was meaningful to her as she had injuries when growing up and couldn't walk for a year.

"I personally can relate to what it feels like to walk again, so I love giving that feeling to other people," she said.

Finally, candidate Elizabeth Card works frequently with Marysville's Parks, Culture and Recreation Department.

"I work at the Opera House and do events like the Easter Egg hunt and camps during the summer and I just love getting to see people in the community," she said.


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