(Editor’s note: On May 20, the 500 Festival announced that Mykah Coleman was named the 2023 500 Festival Queen Scholar. The announcement was made at the 500 Festival Breakfast at the Brickyard, presented by Midwestern Engineers, Inc., event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. )
Nearly two decades after Cold Spring School Principal Tiffany Robinson donned the Indy 500 Princess sash, she had a chance to relive her youth when she escorted one of the race’s royalty for 2023 around her campus.
But the memories linger.
On Tuesday, May 16, Robinson was host to 2023 500 Festival Princess Mykah Coleman. Robinson and Colemen visited several fourth grade classes to provide students with some history of ‟The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
For Robinson, who was among the young women to wear the sash in 2004 as a student at Indiana University-Bloomington, the visit brought back memories of attending dozens of events connected to the race and hobnobbing with celebrities.
“I think actor Morgan Freeman was the one who stands out,” said Robinson, who noted the actor’s deep, signature voice will never be forgotten. “I was lucky enough to have my photograph taken with him and make some small talk. But, I love history and documentaries and he had done so much work on those. So, being able to put the voice with the face was an amazing experience.
“I think that visiting our school is an extraordinary opportunity to give back,” she said.
It is great to see us bridge the gap between a princess from 2004 to the new generation here in 2023.” Robinson is in her first year as principal at the school and in her fifth year at Indianapolis Public Schools.
Coleman, who is a junior at Marian University majoring in elementary education and a graduate of Shortridge High School, is one of 33 500 Festival Princesses this year. Together, they represent 19 Indiana colleges and universities and 21 cities and towns across the state.
With a cumulative GPA of 3.71, this class was selected from hundreds of applicants based on communication skills, academic performance, community involvement, commitment to service, and leadership.
As an African American 500 Festival Queen, Coleman believes her role in the visit was to explain to students not only the race’s history and impact on Indianapolis, but also how to be a role model.
“I applied to be a princess because I wanted to make a change and let people know that anyone can be a role model,” said Coleman, who noted three African American women are among the 2023 princesses. “When you think of princesses, I don’t think people think of people who look like me. But, I want to be part of changing that. I want to be that inspiration for the students — just like I had growing up.”