500 Festival Announces 2020 Queen Scholar – Kathleen Soller of Greenwood

500 Festival Announces 2020 Queen Scholar – Kathleen Soller of Greenwood

Media Contact: Sabrina List, 500 Festival
317.954.3203 ǀ slist@500festival.com

 

INDIANAPOLIS (May 21, 2020) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, announced today that Kathleen Soller of Greenwood has been named the 2020 Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar. For the first time in 500 Festival history, the Queen Scholar announcement was made virtually on the 500 Festival’s Facebook page due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Soller is a sophomore at Saint Mary’s College majoring in Nursing. She is a graduate of Roncalli High School and is the daughter of Patrick and Joanne Soller. Kathleen is involved with Timmy Global Health, Camp Kesem, and the Make-A-Wish club. As a Make-A-Wish kid herself, the 2020 Queen Scholar has felt a special tie to the Make-A-Wish children she has met via virtual outreaches over the last few weeks, who have been thrilled to meet a real ‘Princess’.

 

Kathleen is one of 33 young women who were selected for the 2020 500 Festival Princess Program. The Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar and Princesses are involved with the 500 Festival’s statewide community outreach programs and traditionally have the opportunity participate in various Indianapolis 500 and 500 Festival activities, including the pre-race ceremonies and Victory Circle celebration for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and the IPL 500 Festival Parade. In addition, each 500 Festival Princess receives a $1,000 scholarship, made possible by Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of The Sexton Companies, and the 500 Festival Foundation.

 

“One of the things I was looking forward to most with the 500 Festival Princess Program was the opportunity to serve the community. Despite not being able to serve in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have enjoyed being part of community outreaches virtually. I have enjoyed participating in online video visits with classrooms of all ages across the state, teaching kids about the Indianapolis 500, the 500 Festival, my role as a 500 Festival Princess, community service, and how we can continue serving during quarantine,” said Soller. “I’ve also enjoyed participating in video calls with Make A Wish Kids (which is very special to me because I am also a Wish Kid) and virtual story time for The Children’s Bureau. While I would love to be doing in-person outreaches, I am grateful to have the opportunity to use technology to continue connecting with Hoosiers.”

 

As the Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar, Soller is the recipient of an additional $1,553 educational scholarship from Fifth Third Bank. In addition, she will wear the one-of-a-kind 500 Festival Queen Scholar’s crown at 500 Festival events and the Indianapolis 500. She will participate in a variety of virtual community outreach activities throughout the year and participate in the Indianapolis 500 pre-race and Victory Circle celebrations.

 

The 500 Festival Princess Program has a long history of celebrating Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven college-aged women. Serving as a 500 Festival Princess provides young women with countless opportunities for leadership, networking and professional development. The 500 Festival Princesses have had the opportunity to participate in the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by BKD, which empowers participants to make a profound impact within their community and Indiana.

 

The 2020 500 Festival Princesses represent 14 Indiana colleges and universities and 22 cities and towns across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.64, this year’s 500 Festival Princesses were selected through a competitive process consisting of a written application and two rounds of interviews. The 2020 500 Festival Princesses represent a diverse group of women with 26 different fields of study ranging from education to software engineering to journalism to biochemistry.

 

In 2015, the 500 Festival added a $1,000 scholarship for each Princess selected to the program, made possible by the 500 Festival Foundation and Marlyne Sexton, an Indianapolis philanthropist and president of the Sexton Companies. Prior to 2015, only the Princess selected as the 500 Festival Queen Scholar received a scholarship. Marlyne recently made a generous commitment to the 500 Festival and 500 Festival Foundation to build a fund that ensures that scholarships for all 33 women selected as a 500 Festival Princess will be covered in perpetuity. To thank Marlyne for her generosity and support of the Princess Program, the 500 Festival Queen Scholar award will now be named in her honor.

 

Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by: BKD, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Vera Bradley, and the 500 Festival Foundation. To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program, please visit 500festival.com/princessprogram or search #PrincessProgram on social media.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: To download photos of Kathleen Soller, click HERE.

To access the video announcement of the 2020 Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar, click HERE.

Individual and group photos can be downloaded HERE.

 

About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and foster a positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $500 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

 

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