Strawberry Festival Preview: Meet Princess Paige Burroughs

Strawberry Princess Paige Burroughs loves numbers, so she did the math and came to the conclusion she wants to be a forensic accountant and eventually work for law enforcement.

“I didn’t want to do taxes, that’s not my thing,” Paige said, “but I knew I wanted to do something with money and keeping track of it.”

After she graduates from Lebanon High School, Paige, 17, plans to dual enroll at Linn-Benton Community College and Oregon State University to obtain her accounting degree, and will then take a certified board exam.

She is a member of DECA, an organization that aims to prepare high school and college students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, and was previously involved in PULSE (Peers United Lending Support and Encouragement).

“I really like those activities because it challenges me to be a better person, and also encouraging others to be better people,” Paige said.

Her mother, Treva Walton, noted that although they live in a state abundant with fresh salmon dishes, Paige had to travel to New York City with her DECA group last December to discover she likes it.

Paige works at Harvest Moon, a grass seed research operation, and her mother said she’s embraced hard work by taking on many of the physical aspects of working on the family farm. She’s also a gal who likes to have things planned out in her life.

“If she is not able to figure out how to get to a goal, she will work and work at trying to achieve an answer that is suitable to the situation,” she said.

Paige has always been a determined girl, her mother added. She learned how to ride a 12-inch bike by the time she was 2½ years old, and learned to drive a manual transmission in the driveway, she said.

At 15, Paige played on the adult church league softball team and hit a triple past the outfield.

“She could have made it to home plate had her uncle John sent her,” Treva remarked.

She said her daughter desires to have a sense of connection with her community, and believes she is going to be a positive role model who wants to improve and be involved in her community.

Growing up, Paige said, she appreciated how the princess courts represented the community, and how the Strawberry Festival created a sense of community.

“For older people who have always seen this every year, it’s one thing in their life that always will happen; and for kids it’s something to look forward to. I know I did.”

Her favorite part about the festival is “definitely” the parade.

“I like to see the different people in the community, what their float is, or if it’s a business or something, just seeing people in the community and who’s there,” she said.

Paige also said she appreciates that many of the new businesses opening in town are “mom and pop” shops, she said, and that on the other side of the coin the city is getting bigger with the college and other growth.

“But a lot of our businesses are still small, so it still feels like a little more home-y to me. I feel like you can still interact with those people.”