Strawberry Festival Preview: Meet Princess Taylor Darwood

Strawberry Princess Isabella Miller is closing in on her final days as a senior at Lebanon High School, but she’s ready to move into the next chapter of her education.

Isabella, 17, plans to study zoology at Oregon State University en route to becoming a zoo veterinarian.

“I’m a huge animal person,” she said.

Though her family has had lots of pets over the years, she currently only has one dog, a small Yorkie named Milo.

As a child she enjoyed going often to the zoo with her family, and had lots of stuffed animals that she’d pretend to take care of, said Robin Miller, Isabella’s mom.

But Isabella also has a heart for people.

At school she participates in PULSE (Peers United Lending Support and Encouragement) and LEWA (Leading Empowering Women of America).

LEWA is a new club at the school in which participants try to help each other believe they can do anything they want to do, regardless of what others say, Isabella said.

PULSE is an anti-bullying group, and its members try to spread encouragement and positivism with little acts of kindness.

“I want to encourage people and make them feel like (school) is a safe and happy environment to be in,” she said.

Isabella is strong-minded and can be stubborn sometimes, Robin said, but she’s always polite and friendly to everyone.
“We wanted to instill traits in our children that can benefit and help the people around them,” Robin said.

Isabella is also in her third year on the high school Explosion dance team, and stays extra busy with her duties as a princess. It’s a role she wanted to be in since she was a child.

“For me, they were like celebrities,” Isabella said. “We’d run when they came to our school, and we’d try to get everybody’s signature. They were, like, truly princesses.”

Now she realizes being a princess is much more than just a name and a crown.

“I think it’s important because for the little kids, we’re kind of role models to them and we set an example for what to be,” she said.

One of her favorite things about the Strawberry Festival is the togetherness of the community.

“I love seeing all the different types of people and how we all just come together for this one big event,” she said.

And despite Lebanon’s history that hasn’t always been “the best,” Isabella said she sees the community’s future looking bright.

“I really like how everybody’s coming together to build it up and make it better,” Isabella said. “We’re a family here, we’re a connected community.”