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
As a member of the Purdue “All-American” Marching band, Krupa Patel enjoys coming back to the Indy 500, a tradition held for over 100 years.
Redefining what it means to be a princess
I want to tell young girls: Whatever you want to put your mind to, you can achieve it. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. As a female police officer, I’m going to have to work 20 times as …
Empowering Indiana women through civic engagement
When I was in middle school choir, I was assigned to be a helper and mentor to a student with Down syndrome. I ended up getting really close with his family. I did a lot of work with the Special …
Becoming a part of Indianapolis 500 and Purdue history
I went to the Indy 500 when I was younger, but I didn’t know I was hearing the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band the whole time until I was able to be a part of it in college as a Golduster.
Seeing a community come together for race day
It’s the coolest moment when we turn the corner of the Indy 500 track, and you see all of the people in the stands lined up, and you are the first thing they’re all looking at.
Modeling community service for the next generation as a 500 Festival Princess
The 500 Festival Princess Program started out as a pageant, but there’s so much more to what it means to be a leader and a princess. I fell in love with community service my freshman year building an assistive fishing …
Combining student leadership and showmanship at the Indianapolis 500
At the Indy 500, a lot of the drum major’s role is the showmanship of it all — wearing the big, tall bear hats, leading the band through the parades, but there is also the logistics.
Building and celebrating a passion for community
Being from a small town, there’s not a whole lot of diversity. There wasn’t anybody that looked like me. I got pointed out a lot, and I just knew from a very early age I was not the same as …