Bejeweled: A princess named Ruby with roots on the Emerald Isle
Ruby Tennis has Irish roots that run deep. They stretch across the Atlantic, where her paternal ancestors lived in County Tipperary and elsewhere on the Emerald Isle before making the long voyage to the U.S. many decades ago.
“My dad just told me how proud my grandpa would be that I’m keeping the Irish spirit in the family,” said the 17-year-old high school junior, this year’s Hometown Irish Parade princess.
When Ruby dons the official sash and crown and steps into the car that will carry her along the route through downtown Plainfield on March 12, it will be only the second time she’s been in any parade – the first one as part of a Girl Scout troop. She said she’s looking forward to filling the high-profile role.
“I’m actually so excited,” said the busy teen, who writes and plays music, dances – and gives away much of her time outside of school hours.
Between music lessons, ballet, church involvement, volunteer hours at area food pantries and the nearby location of the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children, and school, her days are full.
“She is such a fantastic young woman that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know as her piano teacher,” said Heather Finegan of Plainfield, who cited Ruby’s extensive volunteerism among the reasons she nominated her for the position. Finegan sees her as a superb role model for other young women making their way to adulthood.
“Ruby is a hardworking honor roll student, musician and songwriter, and volunteer committed to helping our community,” she wrote on the nomination.
When Ruby graduates next year from Waubonsie Valley High School, not far from Plainfield’s northern border, she’ll already have her sights set on making the world a little better.
“I have my whole life planned,” she said, adding that she plans to apply to Brigham Young University to pursue a degree in Middle Eastern studies or world development. Her goal is a career in humanitarian work with charitable organizations.
Ruby’s dad, Peter Tennis, is pleased that his and his wife Teresa’s only daughter – who has two older brothers and two younger ones – has been selected to wear the crown in this year’s parade.
“I have a daughter who’s very excited,” he said. “It’s always good to boost someone’s confidence and self esteem.”