to vie for crown at Fillies Ball
will take part in several
Derby events as part of court
PROSPECT, Ky. (February 2006) There is a princess
in Prospect. Sowmya Srinivasan was crowned one of this years Derby
Festivals princesses. You may think her story would read as Once
upon a time five new princesses were crowned as part of the annual Derby
Festival tradition. Waving wistfully, these new friends went to their
royal chambers to wait for something wonderful to happen.
Derby Festival Princesses
(from left) are Sowmya Srinivasan,
Tara Mattingly, Amelia Anne Martin,
Stephanie Ann Pieper and Patti Jo Grice
You will find no magic wands or clever mice in this story.
These young women are on the ball, not just going to one. Srinivasan
was chosen from a group of 60 applicants and 25 finalists. The others
selected to the court are Patti Jo Grice of Louisville, Amelia
Anne Martin of Richmond, Ky., Stephanie Ann Pieper and Tara Mattingly,
both of Louisville. Candidates were required to be enrolled at a college,
university or professional school and maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point
average. Applicants were also asked to provide two letters of recommendation.
Srinivisan was crowned one of this years princesses the day before
her 21st birthday. It was the best birthday present ever.
She added, I by no means, planned my activities around becoming
a Derby princess. Its more like an added reward for doing well
in school and all my hard work.
According to Srinivasan, the judging process was difficult and consisted
of several interviews. A panel of three judges asked a series of questions
regarding personal accomplishments as well as Louisville and Derby history.
They wanted to know how articulate we were and how involved we
were in our school and community.
The Princess Program, coordinated by The Fillies, Inc. is not a beauty
pageant. Princesses are selected based on campus and community involvement,
intelligence, personality, poise and even knowledge of the Derby Festival
itself. These women will serve the important role of ambassador for
Louisville and the Derby Festival. They will represent the community
to thousands of city guests, many prominent, welcomed every spring.
Princesses are in good company. Past princesses have included Former
Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins, who was not only the states first
female governor, but also the first to be crowned Derby Queen. Another
outstanding Derby princess was Fail Gorski, the first female pilot to
be hired by United Airlines.
Srinivasan herself is a community jewel. A senior majoring in Pre-Med
and Music at the University of Louisville, she is a Guaranteed Entrance
into Medical School Scholar and has played the violin for 14 years.
She was U of Ls 2004 homecoming queen and a Miss Cardinal. Her
school commitments include being a Student Government officer and Resident
Director for three school properties.
Coinciding with the Princess Programs emphasis on
community service, Srinivasan works with several different volunteer
groups on campus and on her own. She is involved in a dance marathon
at the University of Louisville to benefit the Childrens Hospital
Foundation. And recently, Srinivasan organized a Hurricane Katrina disaster
relief project with the American Red Cross and raised more than $1,600.
In between the more than 70 Derby Festival events in a two week period,
the princesses are asked to speak about volunteering in local schools.
I would love to go back to the schools and encourage them. You
have to realize that for a lot of the younger kids they want to be princesses
and they think youre the real thing, said Srinivasan.
I love talking to people.
Im just going to encourage them to go to college and give back
to their communities. Im very excited. Its a definite perk.
Its not just about the events; there are a lot of things that
we get to do thats really hands-on.
Magic or no magic, the clock will strike 12. Srinivasan will graduate
this semester with Commencement a week after the Derby.
She is planning to complete her classes and exams two weeks early and
transition in the new Student Government officer before the festival
Ill be organized and on top of things. Its going to
be a whirlwind. You have to fit it all in with school and everything
else. Thats one of the reasons they judge you on all sorts of
things like scholastics and community involvement. If you are capable
of balancing that, they know you can handle this.
She said she is looking forward to attending every event, even the optional
ones beyond the 70 required. Srinivasan knows an opportunity like this
does not come often and hopes to make the most of it. She is delighted
to know her parents are just as excited as she is and are planning to
participate in all the activities available to them. They are
just so, so excited to do things they may never have the chance to do
Like all fairytale princesses, the Derby princesses will also attend
a grand ball. The Fillies will hold the Derby Ball on April 21 at the
Galt House East Grand Ballroom. That evening, the Derby Festival Queen
will be crowned by the traditional spin-of-the wheel.
Srinivasan added, I dont want to miss anything. Because
we really enjoy what we are doing, Im sure it will be well worth
it, even if we are a little tired.
After weeks of Derby festivities, these princesses may find themselves
For more information on the Kentucky Derby
Festival, call the Bellsouth Derby Festival Hotline at (502) 540-1127
or visit: www.kdf.org.
Back to February 2006