Hamilton Southeastern graduates make mark in 500 Festival Princess program

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Meghan Reddy wants to use her role as a 500 Festival Princess to inspire other young girls.

“I’m going into finance and females are underrepresented in the industry,” said Reddy, who is majoring in finance and international business at Indiana University. “I’m always looking for ways to give back and promote diversity in that sense. The Princess program feels like a great way to tap into female empowerment and work more closely with younger kids.”

Reddy

Reddy is joined in the 500 Festival Princess program by fellow Fishers resident and Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate Caroline Gretencord.

Reddy is moving to New York for a job in investment banking after graduation.

“I wanted to find a way to give back one more time before moving,” Reddy said. “I’m not in a social sorority, so for me to be surrounded by that many females all at once who are empowered and passionate about community service in Indiana has been the coolest experience. Learning from them on a personal and a professional level has been incredible. I’m so proud to be part of a program alongside 32 other amazing women.”

Reddy is looking forward to Salesforce and JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day, which is set for noon to 4 p.m. May 15.

Gretencord

“My mother (Jhansi Reddy) works at Chase, so she volunteers for that annually,” Reddy said. “I love little kids.”

Gretencord, an Indiana University senior, said she was inspired to apply for the Princess program because of her love for the Indianapolis 500.

“I attended my first 500 race with my dad (Steve Gretencord) when I was 7 years old, and we have gone every year since,” Gretencord said. “This tradition is very special to us, and it is my favorite day of the year. I have always admired the Princesses because they are ambassadors of one of my favorite sporting events and one of my favorite days with my dad. I especially hope to meet some racecar drivers that I have watched race in the Indy 500 since I was little.”

Gretencord said she plans to promote the theme of leadership during her tenure.

“I want to inspire young girls to do this program when they are in college and believe in the power they have to make an impact on the world,” said Gretencord, who was vice president of her class at HSE for all four years and a spirit leader on Blue Crew.

Outside of school, Gretencord cheered for Indiana Elite for 10 years.

“I plan to take a gap year and work for my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, as a traveling Leadership Consultant and then attend DePaul University in the fall of 2023 for a master’s in speech-language pathology with a special emphasis on Spanish-English bilingualism,” Gretencord said.

Mt. Vernon High School student joins Princess program

It was suggested to Lauren Pilkington that she apply for the program.

“It was presented to me by a boss of mine at University of Southern Indiana about a girl who I was in the student ambassador program where we give tours on campus,” the Mt. Vernon High School graduate said. “She had done (the Princess program) last year and she said I would be good for the position especially because I study radio and television. She said it would be awesome for me to have experiences with the media and also to meet new people and network.”

Pilkington, who is from McCordsville, said it has been an incredible experience.

“I’ve never been to the Indy 500, so going to the race and having the best seat I’ll ever have in my life will be an incredible experience,” Pilkington said.

Pilkington said she is eager to meet all the different people involved with the 500 Festival.

“I have different organizations I’m involved with that I’m excited to partner with,” she said. “For me, it’s meeting all the incredible princesses and the people we’re networking with. Every single time we do a different event we’re gifted with meeting all of these new people.”

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