Meet the Court: Princess Lauren Wyatt

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

The 114th Strawberry Festival, themed “Peace, Love and Strawberries,” arrives as the world recovers from the effects of a pandemic. Finding peace and showing love may be some of the most valuable traits a princess could possess this year.

Princess Lauren Wyatt finds peace by going on walks or taking some time to herself.
She believes the world could achieve the same through better communication.
“If you’re on the same page and working together, you’re not pulling all the weight by yourself,” she said. “When you communicate and work together, you’re going to move so much faster because you’re moving in the same direction at the same speed; you’re twice as powerful.”
Wyatt shows — and feels — love through acts of service and words of affirmation. In fact, she keeps a pad of sticky notes in her car for such purposes: to leave messages for people on their cars when so moved.
“I probably express love that way because I appreciate it so much when I receive it,” she explained. “I know how good it makes me feel, so I want to do that back to somebody else.”
The 17-year-old is currently a senior at East Linn Christian Academy, where she’s dual-enrolled at Linn-Benton Community College for advanced math classes. This year she participated in golf and track and was captain of the varsity volleyball team.
She’s also “heavily involved” in her school’s advanced Spanish program, helping others studying the language, and is in the National Honor Society.
Wyatt plans to study pre-med at Southern Oregon University in Ashland prior to pursuing her doctorate degree. She’s considering surgery as her field of study.
She likes to stay active by playing sports, traveling, working out, swimming, paddle boarding and cooking.
“Cooking is super fun,” she said, “but I’m a terrible baker.”
Wyatt first became acquainted with the Strawberry Festival princess court as a young girl, after East Linn Christian moved from Sweet Home to Lebanon in 2011. With the change in location, the court began paying visits to her school. She recalls her classmates reacting by producing their signature books, their “eyes glossed over with amazement.”
The brunette thought being on the court, too, would be a great experience.
“I’m teaching myself how to recognize people, remember their names and sharpen those public-speaking skills,” she said. “It’s just learning some of these great skills.”
Wyatt finds that she’s now a role model for children.
“It’s really cool to sit down and talk to kids and encourage them to be whoever they want and do whatever they want,” she said.
Her own role models are her grandfather – a “kind and dedicated” man who likes to help where he can – and her parents, Dustin and Mindy, who, she said, have been through a lot but didn’t let hardships define them. (Her family also includes a sister and brother.)
“They did the best that they could with what they had and kept a positive attitude about it,” she said. “Growing up and watching them in life and the things they dealt with has taught me the sky’s the limit. It doesn’t matter what happens, just keep going.”
Wyatt boasts two distinct qualities that help define her individuality. First, she’s a noted “baby whisperer,” with the talent to soothe a crying infant. Second, she trains ducks, her pride and joy. Kevin, a silver appleyard, was her most outstanding.
“He was my very best friend,” she said. “I taught him how to perch on my shoulder and how to jump over the fence. He played tag all the time in the backyard and would wrap his wings over you. It kinda looked like a hug.”
As a Strawberry Princess, Wyatt enjoys attending parades throughout Oregon, but visiting nursing homes is her favorite activity.
“It’s so cool to see the things they’ve experienced in their lives and the tales they have to tell about them, and all the advice,” she said.
Wyatt appreciates the people who make up Lebanon. She has seen them rally around families in need, and now, as a princess, she gets to be part of a city that gives.
“It’s amazing just to see how much our community does step up,” she said.