The 500 Festival Princess Program celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded and academically driven young women. For decades, exceptional female Purdue students have served as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, participating in service opportunities in their hometowns and Greater Lafayette in the lead-up to race day. In total, 33 princesses — matching the number of drivers in the Indy 500 — represent a variety of colleges and universities from across Indiana. Meet the five young Boilermakers representing Purdue as part of this year’s 500 Festival Princess Program. This story is part of a monthlong, behind-the-scenes look at Purdue’s storied history with the Indy 500.
Purdue at the Indy 500: Prelaw student Delaney Tejcek is modeling what success looks like for the next generation
In a world of influencers and models, you look at these people and think, “I want to look like that.” But that’s not how it is with the 500 Festival Princess Program. You get to hear these amazing women’s stories about thriving in a business environment and empowering others, and you think, “I want to be like that.”
That’s the main message that I’ve been trying to convey. At all these events, you have these adorable little girls, and they all want to be a princess too. They’ll ask me, “Do you have a prince? Do you have a castle? Do you have a fancy dress?” My message to them is that a princess doesn’t need a prince. The 500 Festival Princess Program evaluates you on how hard you’ve been working, your academic achievements, what you’ve done for your community and what impact you’ve had.
The coolest thing when I’m talking to these young girls is that I get to tell them, “If you want to get far in this world, study hard, have fun and grab every opportunity that you can.” It doesn’t matter where you come from, because we all come from all over the state of Indiana. No matter what school you’re at — if you try your absolute best and your hardest, there’s no stopping you.
The coolest thing when I’m talking to these young girls is that I get to tell them, “If you want to get far in this world, study hard, have fun and grab every opportunity that you can.Delaney Tejcek
Prelaw, communications and history minors, ’22
This student spotlight is part of a special series highlighting Purdue’s many connections to the Indy 500. Thank you to Delaney Tejcek (prelaw, communications and history minors, ’22) for sharing your story with us.
Playing a part in an Indy 500 tradition, year after year
Redefining what it means to be a princess
Empowering Indiana women through civic engagement
Becoming a part of Indianapolis 500 and Purdue history
Seeing a community come together for race day
Modeling community service for the next generation as a 500 Festival Princess
Combining student leadership and showmanship at the Indianapolis 500
Building and celebrating a passion for community