gmhTODAY 10 gmhToday Sept Oct 2016 - Page 40

Queen Kyle at first flame up of the day, and with Chanel Lucid (8 years old) who had been designated as the pag- eant’s junior princess. She plans to be a contestant in 2026 when she’s eligible. A Day in the Life of a Garlic Festival Queen Written By J. Chris Mickartz W e met up with the Queen Kyle Perez-Robinson and her court at 8 am at the Princess Palace – the name of the motorhome provided by Jeanine Koloski, Assistant Chair Children’s Area. From 8 to 9 am, the girls prepped for their day; making sure every hair was in place and sashes in order. Queen Pageant Chair, Lauren Mantani (who looks like she could be one of the girls — only the lack of a crown and red festival shirt set her apart) went over the schedule to let the girls know what to expect. The mood was light and cheery with last-minute curling iron exchanges, selfies and small talk. One of the girls practiced her speech for the dinner they were to attend that evening. To the casual observer, they would appear to be a group of best friends who had known each other for many years. As we strolled over to their first assignment, the lighting of the garlic 40 bulb, I had the opportunity to discuss the festival with Queen Kyle. “I’m really excited, I’ve never really seen the festival from this side; I’m usually a volunteer, either helping my mother in her booth at the Arts & Crafts area or working in Gourmet Alley for the high school choir. It will be fun to see it from a different angle,” she said. Kyle’s best friend (since second grade) Brittini Bombino is one of her princesses. Neither girl had told the other of her plan to apply for the Garlic Festival scholarship pageant. This fall, Brittini is attending the prestigious AMDA (American Musical Drama Academy) in Hollywood, CA, and Kyle will be attending Stanford University in Palo Alto. It was through SKYPE that the subject came up and they found out that they had both applied. Once they realized they would be taking this journey together, the pageant and all its trimmings seemed just a little less of a challenge, and more of a bonding adventure. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 While “having it all” is something most of us only lust after, Kyle, at the young age of 23, just does. She’s bright, attractive, talented and self-disciplined. At Stanford, she is majoring in Human Biology (concentration in the biological and social determinants of maternal and infant health) and has applied for a Co-Term Masters program in Community Health & Prevention Research. Kyle spent the summer working in a research lab studying language acquisition in low- income Spanish-speaking communities, the result of which is a program that teaches mothers alternative ways of talking to kids to improve the quality of their speech. Data and research will help Latino parents in “how to influence their children to succeed when in school.” She is also working on a series of children’s books in Spanish — to help parents communicate with their smaller children. The lab was run by Anne Fernald. gmhtoday.com