Princess Emily Squires

For Emily Squires, 18, being a Strawberry Princess means spreading kindness and being available to support people.
It also gives her a chance to practice her public speaking skills, which is something she enjoys and has taken classes for.
Squires appreciates Lebanon for the small town that it is. She likes being able to see people she knows around town, and likes that people here are nice.
“I think that the people in Lebanon are always helping, helpful of each other and, like, supporting one another,” she said.
It was 2019 Princess Isabella Ayala who encouraged Squires to be a princess, herself. They swam and ran together in high school, and Ayala inspired her to apply for the court, she said.
Being on the court this year, Squires mostly likes working with the kids, which fits with her plan to become an elementary school teacher.
“I like getting to see the kids and working with the children and kind of being a role model for them in a way,” she said.
As a princess, she was looking forward to going to the schools and visiting the kids during lunch, which was something she remembers from her own childhood. But the pandemic prevented the court from being able to do that this year.
But Squires is also finding that she likes being asked questions for interviews and when attending different events.
“They make me think about myself, my future, my community,” she said.
She also looked forward to the parade. Watching the parade every year was a tradition that meant a lot to her as a child growing up, she said.
“I would always sit on the sidewalk and watch the floats go by, and the princesses waving in the parade,” she recalled.
It’s traditions like that that are important to a town because it brings the community together, Squires said.
“I think every year, just making new experiences and new memories in addition to the previous ones, kind of like each year it gets better,” she said.
If she could suggest a future festival theme, it would be to host a decades motif, and perhaps show pictures of all the previous years, she said.
Thinking a little more outside the box, Squires said if she could do anything as part of the Strawberry Court, it would be to go to a different country to help kids.
“Like my cousin, for example, he went to Uganda and they helped this village and all the kids kind of get food and new clothes and things that they might need. I think that would be a fun thing to kind of help others in a way,” she said.
Squires enjoys swimming, having been on the high school swim team as well as a club team in Albany. She also likes to hike, and raises animals as a member of the Greenback 4-H Club.
She has been doing 4-H since the fourth grade, influenced by her aunt, a 4-H leader. For the first few years, she showed sheep, and later started showing pigs as well. These last two years, she tried her hand at raising steers. Her current steer is named Bentley.
Whether she names the animals or not, it’s always hard to let them go.
“I cry every year, no matter what,” Squires noted.
Some day, she would like to go skydiving, though she doesn’t consider herself a risk taker. It’s her “daredevil” sister who motivates her to try new things, she said. And it’s her parents who are her biggest inspiration.
Her father, Nick, was raised by his mother, who had him when she was 17, she said. He didn’t have much growing up, but now he works really hard for his own family.
“He just teaches me a lot of life lessons, and he’s my biggest motivator,” Squires said.
Her mother, Tami, is a nurse, who loves to take care of people, she said.
Squires would also like to travel. Her first trip out of the country is already planned. This summer, Squires will go to Jamaica with her cousin and grandmother, who sponsors a graduation trip for each of her grandkids.
They originally wanted to go on a cruise, but were worried they could be stranded if COVID caused any problems, she said. So they chose the Caribbean, and found a resort on a beach in Jamaica that looked fun.
If there’s one thing Squires learned from COVID, it’s how to be flexible, she said.
Several Strawberry Court events had to be changed last minute, and new things were added into their schedule because of the pandemic. And there’s one other thing she learned.
“I would say thinking of others as well. Like, I know for me, I have a hard time remembering to wear my masks and that kind of stuff,” she said. “(So) just thinking of others in that way.”