Spokane Lilac Festival Royal Court Honor Teachers of the Year

Members of the Spokane Lilac Festival “Our Town” Royal Court have selected seven teachers to be honored as a part of the 2022 Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.

The Lilac Festival is committed to the continued education of our Royalty Court and celebrates those who helped shape into the young women they have and will become. Founded in the early 2000 by Festival Director Russ Brown, a long-time educator, the Teacher of the Year program was created to celebrate the teachers going the extra mile to ensure bright futures for their students.

Annually, each member of the Royal Court selects a teacher who most influenced them throughout their high school experience. Recipients are presented a plaque and certificate at their school alongside the Festival’s President and are also invited to attend the Queen’s Luncheon during festival week on May 20. GESA Credit Union is the 2022 sponsor of the program.

The 2022 Teachers of the Year are:

  • Tamara Kennedy-Gibbens – Mead High School
  • Karen Round – Gonzaga Preparatory School
  • Kaysha Reinhart – University High School
  • Craig Johnson – Medical Lake High School
  • Mary Pratt – Cheney High School
  • Andy Mattson – The Oaks Classical Christian Academy
  • Emily Torres – Ferris High School

The Queen and six Princesses submit an essay that describes the reasons for their nomination. Queen Janna said this of Tamara Kennedy-Gibbens, “Mead High School is all about belonging, and this amazing teacher really embodies this so admirably. She has made students like me feel welcomed and that we belong.”

Belonging and support were a common theme in many of this year’s selectees. “This teacher has served as a great role model for me since the first day I met her,” said Princess Ryan of Karen Round. “Beyond academics, I never once had doubts that she cared for me as a student and a person.”

Princess Velerie said of her selection Craig Johnson, “This teacher never lets a student leave the room with anything less than they came with. Their kind words and genuine empathy and care for their students never wavers and ensure that students never leave the building unhappy.”

In 2022, the selected teachers had the opportunity to ride alongside the Royal Court on a KC – 135 refueling aircraft as guests of 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

The honorees are invited to ride as a VIP in the Armed Forces Torchlight Parade on Saturday May 21, 7:45 p.m. in downtown Spokane. To read the 2022 honoree essays and view photos of the presentations, visit here.

Janna Huber Named 2022 Our Town Lilac Festival Queen

[Spokane, WA] At a coronation held on Saturday March 26 at Spokane First Church the Spokane Lilac Festival Association (SLFA) crowned the 2022 “Our Town” Festival Queen, Queen Janna Huber from Mead High School.

Queen Janna is involved in Link Crew, Marching Band, Pep Band, Wind Ensemble, Young Life, Student Council, and co-captains the Tennis team. She plans to attend either Washington University or Eastern Washington University in the fall of 2022.

In her speech Queen Janna spoke about feeling a sense of belonging when her family relocated to the Spokane area and hopes to reinforce that feeling to others in the Spokane community and Pacific Northwest region.

The SLFA Royal Court is composed of seven senior girls selected from among regional high schools. The selection process begins in the fall, with the court being selected in February and the Queen named in March.

The Royal Court Princesses are:

  • Princess Velerie Dancel of Medical Lake High School
  • Princess Megan Tallman of The Oaks Classical Christian Academy
  • Princess Taryn Frerichs of Ferris High School
  • Princess Ryan Ham of Gonzaga Preparatory School
  • Princess Shelby Zehm of University High School
  • Princess Ella Hilliard of Cheney High School

At the coronation, Royal Court Members were presented with a court scholarship. Additional Scholarships were presented including The Spirit of Lilac, Community Service, and Academic Achievement among more.

Queen Janna and Royal Court will represent the SLFA at the Annual Armed Forces Torchlight Parade in downtown Spokane on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 7:45 p.m. and will travel with the SLFA Float to over one dozen community festivals across the Pacific Northwest this summer.

What are the Candidates up to?