The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis, celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women. Each year, 33 college-aged women are selected as 500 Festival Princesses and serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges/universities. This year, Franklin College junior Lexi Giddens, a Johnson County native, will serve as a princess.
Giddens, a biology major with a focus in pre-veterinary studies, joins a group of women representing 15 Indiana colleges and universities and 22 cities and towns across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.62, the 500 Festival Princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance, community involvement, commitment to service and leadership.
“I decided to apply to be a 500 Festival Princess because I had heard about the opportunity through past princesses and loved the idea of being able to represent my state, my community, and my college through this program,” explains Lexi. “This program also entails leadership opportunities and professional development which interested me. I really enjoy giving back to my community and thought there was no better way to do this than to apply to this program and get to spread excitement for the greatest spectacle in racing!”
Giddens’ application, submitted in early January, was selected from the hundreds of applications received, propelling her to the interview level. After interviewing before a panel, Giddens was notified a few weeks later that she was one of the 33 women selected for the program. But Giddens preparation for the program began much earlier. “To prepare, I built my resume and application. I prepared for interviews by studying the purpose of this program and the importance of the duties I might acquire. I have learned a lot about the 500 Festival and its history in Indiana.”
A Whiteland High School graduate, Giddens has made her mark at Franklin College by leading and participating in numerous organizations. She serves as judicial chairman of her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha; is a member of the Student Foundation; a three-year member of the cheerleading team; secretary of the Passion 4 Paws organization; vice president and relations executive for Dance Marathon; a member of the Pre-Vet Club and the Chemistry Club; and a member of Chi Beta Phi honorary.
Within the community, Giddens completed 10 years as a 4-H member, showing horses, swine, goats, dogs and cats. She also served on the 2020 Johnson County Fair Queen’s Court and volunteers with the fair board.
In addition to her extensive campus and community participation and maintaining a 3.98 college GPA, Giddens has also served as a dance teacher at Style Dance Academy since 2012, assisted as a trail guide at Grandpa Jeff’s Trail Rides since 2020 and worked as a veterinary technician assistant at Franklin Animal Clinic for the past year.
Giddens is currently in the process of applying to professional schools to achieve a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree after graduating from Franklin College in May 2023.
Giddens is one of more than 2,000 women who have had the honor of representing the community as a 500 Festival Princess since the program’s founding in 1959. She is excited about the upcoming opportunities afforded to her by the program.
“The duties of the 500 Festival Princesses are to be ambassadors for the 500 Festival,” says Giddens. “We strive to help celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 while fostering a positive impact on our community and Indiana. We have the opportunity to attend outreaches all over the state throughout the year. One of our duties is to plan and fulfill multiple outreaches ourselves to spread excitement for the month of May. Of course, I am excited to get a front row seat for the Indianapolis 500, but I am most excited to have the opportunity to travel the state to be an ambassador for the 500 Festival along with getting to know the other 32 princesses from all over the state.”
For more information contact Franklin College’s Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.
POSTED Apr 6, 2022