Strawberry Princess Hailey Johnson

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Princess Hailey Hokulani Johnson, 19, whose middle name is Hawaiian for “heavenly star,” was born to Heather and Scott Johnson. She has one sister, Hollie.
Though born in Corvallis and raised during her early years in Sweet Home, she has lived in Lebanon since the seventh grade.
While growing up, she would attend the Strawberry Festival with her cousins, and she even had 2008 Strawberry Queen Hannah Patton as a babysitter.
“She was one of my role models, and I just really wanted to be like her,” Johnson said. “When I was little, I wanted to be a princess like them, but now I know what they do and I’m happy to be a princess because of what they do for the community.”
Johnson appreciates the sense of community she sees in Lebanon, a city whose volunteers do community service and put on many events, she said.
As part of the Strawberry Court, she’s gotten a closer glimpse into some of the work volunteers do to make Lebanon a nice place to live.
Although the festival, as we know it, has been canceled due to COVID-19, the Strawberry Festival board is eager to bring the community together and put on a show for Lebanon, she said.
“The Lebanon Strawberry Festival does bring people together, and I honestly think it’s awesome,” Johnson said.
She also likes it when people return from college and give back to the community, she said.
“Everyone’s just a tight-knit group. I really like that.”
Johnson knows there’s a possibility she could return, herself, after she completes her college education.
“This community helped raise me, so maybe I should do something in return,” she said.
The Lebanon High School graduate will attend Mount St. Joseph University in Ohio, where she will play softball and study early childhood education.
It was the suggestion of a school counselor and the urging of her mother that led Johnson to choose that career path.
The counselor told her about cadet teaching, a program through the high school that allowed Johnson to help in a kindergarten class four days a week. Her mother told her she should at least try it.
“I didn’t think I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, but being in that classroom, being with all the kids, I noticed that they don’t have positive role models. That really touched my heart. I really want to be a positive role model for kids who don’t have one.”
There were only four cadet teachers in the program, so Johnson passes on her mother’s advice that students should always try stuff out before they decide not to do it.
“You never know; it could be the best thing that ever happened to you,” she said. “I’m happy my counselor and my mom pushed me to do that.”
During her time in high school, Johnson was student body president, treasurer of the National Honor Society, Mr. LHS coordinator, and softball team captain.
For two years, she played club softball in Portland, making the trip up there three times a week. Before that, she played in Salem. Her positions are pitcher and outfielder.
“I like competitive softball, and when you play for a bigger organization, you have a better chance of getting recruited,” she explained.
Johnson chose the D3 college in Ohio because it was a good fit for her, she said.
“Academics is more valuable to me than athletics, so I can focus on academics more than athletics at a D3 level.”
She also wants to round out her worldview by some day teaching in a third-world country.
It would not be the first time Johnson traveled outside the United States, though. When she was in the eighth grade, she flew to the United Kingdom through the NBC (Nothing Beats Commitment, formerly Northwest Basketball Camp) camp.
That was back when she was really into basketball, she said. It was an adventure for her that went beyond sports.
“I ate food that I did not like, but I tried it. After I tried the food, I just stuck with cucumber sandwiches the whole time,” she said.
It was the cheese, milk and meat that tasted “really weird,” she said. She even tried pigs blood pudding, a breakfast served at the hotel made of pork blood, pork fat and grains.
When she isn’t working at Amazon or at her mother’s business, Slip-n-Snip Scissors, Johnson likes to spend her time outside doing such things as hiking and water skiing.
“I also like shopping. Who doesn’t like shopping? I like clothes a lot. A little too much, my dad would say.”