INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2021) – 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 Janae Quinn of Russiaville has been named the 2021 Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar. The announcement was made at the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc., held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Quinn is a junior at Indiana University Kokomo majoring in Elementary Education. She is a member of the IU Kokomo Education Student Advisory Council, serves in part on the “Mask Up Hoosiers” Mask Donation Project, works with students involved with the IREAD Remediation Escape Room, leads educational activities for Howard County Ag Day, and serves in various activities at Liberty Baptist Church. Quinn is a graduate of Western High School and is the daughter of Scott and Janelle Quinn.
Quinn is one of 33 young women who were selected for the 2021 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis, where they serve as ambassadors for the 500 Festival. The Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar and Princesses are involved with the 500 Festival’s statewide community outreach programs, volunteer at 500 Festival events, and participate in various Indianapolis Motor Speedway functions, including the pre-race ceremonies and Victory Circle celebration for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 and the all-new 500 Spectacle of Homes. 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. In addition, each 500 Festival Princess is gifted with a custom pendant, courtesy of Khamis Fine Jewelers.
“As I move forward in my future career, the 500 Festival Princess Program has revealed to me how to empower future generations,” said Quinn. “Whether it be teaching a STEM lesson, reminding young girls that you should never give up on your dreams, or jumping in an actual IndyCar to inspire others, I have learned that you can be a princess and be involved in STEM-related careers. But that dream doesn’t end here for me. In the future, while I may not be wearing a tiara, I have learned how I can continue to share the spirit and legacy of the 500 Festival.”
Quinn’s experience as a 500 Festival has inspired her to write a children’s book titled The Persevering Princess.
“This book allowed me to teach students the importance of never giving up on their dreams,” said Quinn. “I have learned that good leadership means not being afraid of doing the actual things we’re encouraging others to do.”
As the Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar, Quinn is the recipient of an additional $1,500 educational scholarship from the 500 Festival Foundation. In addition, she will wear the one-of-a-kind Marlyne Sexton 500 Festival Queen Scholar’s crown at 500 Festival events and the Indianapolis 500. She will participate in a variety of activities throughout the week and participate in the Indianapolis 500 pre-race and Victory Circle celebrations. She will continue to represent the 500 Festival at various functions throughout the year.
The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis, 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 2021 500 Festival Princesses represent 16 Indiana colleges and universities and 21 cities and towns across the state. With a cumulative GPA of 3.74, this year’s 500 Festival Princesses were selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance, community involvement, commitment to service, and leadership
Support of the 500 Festival Princess Program is provided by: The National Bank of Indianapolis, Marlyne Sexton, BKD, Khamis Fine Jewelers, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Vera Bradley, and the 500 Festival Foundation. To learn more about the 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis, please visit 500festival.com/princessprogram or search #PrincessProgram on social media.
NOTE: To download photos of Janae Quinn, 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.