Lilly Kays, a junior from John T. Hoggard High School, was crowned the 2016 North Carolina Azalea Festival Princess during the 68th Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, March 12th. The event was held at Kenan Auditorium on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Lilly is the daughter of Dr. Charles and Carol Kays. She and her court were selected from among 23 contestants representing 8 area high schools.

Lilly is on the A Honor Roll and is the recipient of numerous awards in Cross Country and swimming. She is Captain of the Cross Country team and has lettered in that sport for three years. Lilly is President and Student Founder of Girls Learn International, a member of the Beta Club, and a National Student Leadership Conference Attendee. She is active in her church and community, serving on the Azalea Festival Youth Committee for 3 years. She enjoys spinning along with running cross country and track. She also loves to travel domestically and internationally. Lilly would like to attend the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University to major in International Relations or Studies.

The court members include the following: 1st Runner-Up from John T. Hoggard, Leah Avant, 2nd Runner-Up, from Cape Fear Academy, Wilker Ballantine, 3rd Runner-Up, from E.A. Laney High School, Micaela Cortner, and 4th Runner-Up, from South Brunswick High School, Grayson Dodd Burnett.

2016 Princess Court (From Left to Right): Leah Avant, Wilker Ballantine, 2016 Azalea Princess Lilly Kays, Micaela Cortner, Grayson Burnett

2016 Princess Court (From Left to Right): Leah Avant, Wilker Ballantine, 2016 Azalea Princess Lilly Kays, Micaela Cortner, Grayson Burnett

Junior high school students from area high schools compete in this annual Scholarship Pageant based on a private interview with judges, evening gown competition, and on-stage presentation. The winner is the recipient of the Beverly Anne Jurgensen Scholarship Award, named after the beloved Past President of the North Carolina Azalea Festival.

Official Stylists for our Royalty: Camille’s of Wilmington




1949 Marguerite Todd (Fornes) 1974 Wende Fox (Lawson)
1950 Barbara Hatcher (McDonald) 1975 Lynne Marie Williford
1951 Evelyn Bergem (Loftin) 1976 Dean Herring (Bowen)
1952 Mary Catherine White (Gregory) 1977 Leigh Hobbs (Murray)
1953 Mary Francis Davis (Worrell) 1978 Dee Dee Ward (Wright)
1954 Nancy Bates (Martin) 1979 Jackie Everette
1955 Libby Beck (Cameron) 1980 Lisa Pridgen (Tise)
1956 Mary Frances All (Forrester) 1981 Julie Teachey (Teague)
1957 Jukie Seaton (Patterson) 1982 Laura Welch (Butcher)
1958 Linda Kelly (King) 1983 Lori Weeks Boldt
1959 Nancy Stovall (Horton) 1984 Maria Paige Truitt
1960 Frances Wood (Loughlin) 1985 Holly Renee Mayo (Borden)
1961 Marty Allegood (Furr) 1986 Susan Frances Skelton (Gough)
1962 Helen Raney (Pinckney) 1987 Patricia Parker (Stone)
1963 Fredi Crisp (Smith) 1988 Amy Lynn Wolfe (Lovelace)
1964 Wanda Caines (Johnston) 1989 Angela Fipps (Boone)
1965 Kathy Seitter (Swango) 1990 Amy Lennon (Queen)
1966 Donna Bordeaux (Little) 1991 Stacie Nichole Davis
1967 Susanne Burns (Smith) 1992 Amy Linette Davis
1968 Sarah Mason 1993 Stephanie Dawn Bilodeau
1969 Janet Evans (Farrior) 1994 Bonnie Victoria Warren (Palsa)
1970 Cheryl Fleishman (Issacs) 1995 Sarah Elizabeth Ronan (Buchanan)
1971 Paula Davis (Noell) 1996 Nicole Ilona Simcoe (Baller)
1972 Connie Kearney (Coble) 1997 Elizabeth Arden Harris (Carroll)
1973 Debbie Fountain (Fugazy) 1998 Lauren Yerby (Bolick)



1999 Danita Davis 2009 Zelle Brown
2000 Melanie Brooks 2010 Abbey Starling (Nobles)
2001 Jamie Deaver (Ferguson) 2011 Hannah Smith
2002 Hannah Manson (Mynhier) 2012 Julia Lovett
2003 Ashley Patterson (Nunez) 2013 Paxton Webster
2004 Claire Williamson 2014 Tori Mathew
2005 Jannell Upton (Dunnaway) 2015 Haleigh Somberg
2006 Michelle Poulos (Woo) 2016  Lilly Kays
2007 Lauren Smith (Hill)
2008 Joshlynn Starling (Justad)