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2019 Strawberry Princess Maddy Romeo

This year’s Strawberry Festival court personifies the festival’s theme, “Strawberry Adventure.” From riding the biggest drop slide to hanging over bridges for a photograph, the court is filled with adventures that help define who they are and who they will become.

Maddy Romeo, 18, finds adventure in sports and family outings. She is very connected to her family, which has “deep roots” here and is “very close-knit.” Together, they enjoy big family vacations and visit Sun River every year.

“We do a lot of hiking and kayaking, so I feel this festival is really fitting for me because I really like the outdoors and adventures,” Maddy said.

She was captain of the Lebanon High School basketball team this year, leading them to state for the first time in a long time, she said. They were also league champs for the first time, and received the Sportsmanship Award at state.

Maddy also played soccer, and is in LINK. She is senior senator, freshman orientation advisor and Mr. LHS coordinator, and will be a class valedictorian.

She is considering attending Linn-Benton Community College to pursue a career as a dental hygienist.

One of her biggest adventures involved a trip taken with her basketball team, which began the day after Christmas at 3 in the morning to catch a flight during “the heart of winter” to Wyoming.

“We flew to Utah, then got on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on and went to the middle of nowhere in Wyoming,” she said.

The purpose of the trip was to compete in a tournament, but their coach added a side trip to South Dakota to visit the Mount Rushmore National Monument. On their first attempt, the bus broke down so they had to return, but that turned out to be a lucky break because a coming snowstorm would’ve stranded them in South Dakota, Maddy said.

They tried again, and successfully made it to the monument. Maddy says she now wants to visit more national monuments and parks.

“I would love to see the history of our country, and then branch out and go to the seven wonders of the world. I think that would be amazing.”

Maddy also considers herself a daredevil. She loves amusement parks and rollercoasters, and looks forward to opportunities to take a little risk.

“Carnival time is a pretty special time for me because I love rides.”

She recently visited the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, the tallest observation tower in the country, and did all the rides up there, she said. This summer, she has plans to celebrate her birthday by going skydiving with her brother.

To ease her parents’ concerns, she said she won’t tell them when she’s jumping, but will call them after the fact. She’s pretty confident she’ll return safely to Lebanon, which is an important place for her.

“Lebanon is important to me, first of all, because I have so much family here,” she said. “And through sports, the community has given me so much, so many sponsorships and support.”

She said they wouldn’t have made it to state without all the support, adding that they were the only team that actually filled most of the stands in the arena.

“It was very inspiring to see. We definitely had the biggest fan base.”