Capital Lakefair Court represented by RHS student for first time

Sarah Barry is one of four student ambassadors


Sarah Barry enjoys pushing herself out of her comfort zone. 

The Rainier High School junior moved from Yelm to Rainier after finishing middle school, and she began her high school journey at a new school, scared because she didn’t know anyone.

Two years later, she is the first RHS student to be a member of the Capital Lakefair Court. In her coronation speech, she thanked the school and the community for welcoming her with open arms.

“I didn’t know a single person at Rainier. It was very scary for me, but it was the opposite of what I expected,” Barry said. “Everyone was very warm. No one was stingy to me. Everyone welcomed me in. I never felt like I didn’t belong, and that’s really amazing to me because it’s such a small school.”

Capital Lakefair Court typically consists of students from around the Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater areas. In fact, Barry is the only student of the four court members not from Olympia, as Black Hills, Capital and Olympia high schools make up the rest. When applying to be a Lakefair ambassador, formerly called a Lakefair princess, Barry was motivated by the fact that she would be the first Rainier student to participate, if chosen.

“My whole speech was about how I changed from coming to Rainier. This is my way of being able to give back to the community and put a spotlight on Rainier,” she said. 

Barry was not very familiar with Capital Lakefair before her counselor, Lauren Memmott, emailed all of the RHS junior girls who had at least a 3.3 GPA about the opportunity. Along with having good grades, she was required to submit an application with two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay.

As a member of the court, she will visit a number of parades, including in Seattle, Portland and Canada before the grand parade in Olympia on Saturday, July 20. She and the court will also have speaking engagements around the Pacific Northwest and will visit each participating school’s parade in the summer.

One of the perks of being Capital Lakefair royalty is that each member receives a $3,000 scholarship, with opportunities for more in the spring and summer. The court will participate in the Royalty Scholarship Program Tea Party on Saturday, April 27, for the ambassadors to meet with the community and raise money for the program.

With the financial benefits, Barry hopes to further her education after high school and study law. Last year, she served as a page for the House of Representatives for a week at the Washington state Capitol Building, working with Rep. J.T. Wilcox.

“I want to fund my studies any way I can. I’m very interested in law, but more specifically, I’m interested in the legislative process,” Barry said.

Barry said she expects to build a second family with the fellow members of the Capital Lakefair Court and continue to push herself out of her comfort zone, as she did when she moved to Rainier.

“The bonds that I’m going to create are going to be so strong. The emotional connection was so strong for the girls last year because they were crying when they were giving their speeches,” she said. “This is going to bring me such a big sense of community. At Rainier, I found a great community, and I like to provide for my community. I’m excited to see what I can provide for Lakefair the same way that I provided for Rainier.”