Each year, it begins with more than 100 applicants. Then, 30 finalists are selected. Finally, five young women are selected as the Royal Court® Princesses. These young women represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and the city of Louisville as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival. Over the two-week period, they attend nearly 70 events.
One of the Princesses will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 17. Each woman will receive a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from the Fillies and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).
Candidates for the Princess Program must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and are selected by a panel of three out-of-state judges. Criteria for selection includes knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement. The Derby Festival’s Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Festival.
Morgan Cooksey of Louisville, KY is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in political science. Morgan serves as a Cardinal Ambassador, is a member of the Student Government Association and also is a Kentucky YMCA Leadership Training Conference facilitator.
Julia Springate of Louisville, KY is a senior at Centre College. Springate is majoring in biology and serves on the Centre Student Senate and volunteers for several organizations such as Salvation Army and Harvesting Hope Food Pantry.
Eriauna Stratton of Louisville, KY is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in elementary education. Stratton is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, an Academic Excellence Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar.
Grace Trimble of Winchester, KY is a junior at the University of Kentucky. Trimble is majoring in political science. She serves on the University of Kentucky Student Athlete Advisory Council and is a recipient of the United States Tennis Association Serves National Scholarship.
Grace Wainwright of Louisville, KY is a senior majoring in bioengineering at the University of Louisville. Wainwright is a fashion blogger at asoutherndrawl.com, a member of the Society of Women Engineers and a Dean’s Scholar.
Cameryn Jones of Goshen, KY is a senior majoring in food science at the University of Kentucky. She has been named to the Dean’s five times and serves as the Recruitment President & Career and Personal Development Director for Chi Omega.
Chelsea Diamond of Louisville, KY is a junior majoring exercise science at Transylvania. Chelsea is a triathlete, has served as the head coach for Owl Creek Swim Team and is the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Pioneer Award.
Katherine Gardner of Greenville, KY is a senior majoring in industrial & mechanical Engineering at The University of Louisville. She is the recipient of several academic scholarships as well as the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers Service Award.
Allison Grant of Harrodsburg, KY is a sophomore majoring in biology at the University of Louisville. She is a University of Louisville Guaranteed Entrance into Medical School student and a member of Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity. Grant also serves at Habitat for Humanity as well as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Dominique Luster of Louisville, KY is a junior majoring in theatre at the University of Kentucky. She is a 2012 Discover Germany Fulbright Scholar and serves as a UK College of Fine Arts Recruitment Ambassador.