Princess Amberly Halbert came to Brookings eight years ago. "I didn't want to move, but I like it here better than I thought I would."
The dream of being an Azalea Princess began for her soon after the move to Brookings. "When I was about nine I saw the parade and as the princesses went by I said, Mommy, I want to be a princess.' I just had to do it."
Princess Amberly admitted that one of the things she likes best about being a princess is the tiara But she quickly added. "I like the learning, learning to speak, how to walk and curtsy, and being out in the community, the lunches and stuff. And having little girls run up and ask to try on the tiara," she said.
Also high on her list of special things about being a princess is getting to know the other princesses. "I got to know the other girls better," she said. Amberly said the hardest part was agreeing on the choice of their outfits because of their difference in sizes, but they worked things out well. "We're the same basically. All we wanted to do was be friends."
Amberly wants to be a pharmacist and to reach that goal, she is planning to attend Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, and has been accepted into the school's health science program.
"I've always known I wanted to go into the medical field, maybe nursing, or be a doctor. I like structure." Which is no doubt the reason biology and mathematics are her favorite subjects. "English just baffled me," she explained. Later she said, "I just found out a week ago that I'm in the top 10 in our class and will receive a plaque at graduation."
The greatest influence on her life, she said, is her parents, William and Cathie Halbert. "My parents always told me to think of others and to go for my goals. They told me I was special enough that I could do anything, and they would always be there for me." She added, "I like being involved in my church. I've learned a lot through our pastor (Gordon Myrah), that's very valuable.
It's hard to believe when talking to her today, but she said, "I was super, super shy and so withdrawn as a freshman. Speech classes helped, and being in plays. I love drama and being on the stage. But this (being a princess) really helped. And Toastmasters helped a lot too."
Her advice to younger girls dreaming about being princesses is, "Just do it. At least try. When I filled out my application, I didn't think I'd do it. When they told me I was accepted, I asked, Are you sure.' It's a real confidence builder, and it's fun being a princess."
Princess Amberly's performance at the pageant talent show will be a rendition from "Old Possums Book of Practical Cats." "I love cats and animals."