Meet the Court: Princess Clarissa Lewis

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Clarissa Lewis, 18, is the daughter of Wayne and Peggy Lewis. She has two siblings: Cordon, 24, and Chloe, 19. Included in the family are chickens, four cats and a dachshund named Moose.
Clarissa is a chorister and a dissectologist, more commonly referred to as a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast.
“One thing that you will always see me doing in my free time is jigsaw puzzles,” she said. “I am definitely a big puzzler.”
A wall in her home is stacked with all the puzzles she’s ever completed (at least two or three times) – she guesses about 25 to 30 of them – and she has a roll-up mat for portable storage of puzzles currently under construction. In a downstairs living room, Clarissa has a space set aside for her puzzle work, which she guards with a little ferocity, she said.
Clarissa also likes to color, play piano and sew, but her biggest talent lies in her voice. She’s wanted to sing since she was in the fifth grade, and she’s been in choir for the past four years. This year alone, three of her five classes are choir.
“Literally every single day I’m just singing,” she said.
Even after she graduates, the soprano will be busy with music camps, concerts and a trip to Europe this summer before she begins college at Linn-Benton Community College.
After she finishes her first two years there, Clarissa plans to transfer to Oregon State University to major in music and become a choir teacher. (Does she like any particular genre of music? Well, everything except country and rap.)
Clarissa has been on a couple of memorable trips that are special to her. The first was through her church to an orphanage in Mexico where she served meals, played with kids, cleaned up around the community, did yard work at homes, and gave away care packages.
“It really opened my eyes to other parts of the world and how people live differently than you do,” she said. “It made me more humble as to what we have and what we experience.”
Another fun excursion was a drive through Canada that involved different activities, including whale-watching.
“The most vivid memory of Canada is when a Humpback whale breached the ocean,” she said. “That was absolutely stunning.”
On her bucket list: Seeing the Eiffel Tower and owning her own home.
Although born in Corvallis, Lebanon has always been home to Clarissa. She loves how the city continues to hold on to its history. Aside from the Strawberry Festival tradition, she noted a kiosk erected in Strawberry Plaza that shares the city’s wood-industry past.
“I really enjoy how Lebanon is trying to hold on to the history and that, if you really look on the inside of Lebanon, you can still see the historical aspects of when it first started,” she said.
And when you look at the festival, you can see those who comprise the community, she said. So many people attend the parade, excited to see the princesses, the organizations and the people.
“Everybody is in the parade, and it shows you that there is community within the community,” she said.
The parade is Clarissa’s favorite part of the festival, particularly when the horses ride through and trot in sync. She likes to see the princesses, too, but she’ll have a different view this year as she rides through the parade as a princess with the Strawberry Court.
Clarissa remembers being “in awe and starstruck” when the court visited her second-grade class.
“For some reason I just knew that that is the biggest honor you could get, in my little 7-year-old mind, like that’s the biggest thing ever,” she said.
So she knew she had to become a princess, herself. It became a lifelong goal, and Clarissa admitted to “bawling” when she got the call that she was accepted.
“It was definitely a heartwarming moment,” she said. “[Now] I know the reason why I knew it was such a big honor: because it is.”
As she visits local schools and parades in other cities, it’s the little moments that are the icing on the cake (or the strawberries on the shortcake) for Clarissa, like the time a little boy gave her a rose.
“Little things like that make you realize that people have hearts that are open to others,” she said, “and it’s really heartwarming to see that other people really do care for other people.”