by Antonina Zielinska
Having attended the Irish Fair most years of her young life, Taylor Powers had great admiration for the Colleen Queens that reigned over the fair each year.
“I remember them walking around the fair with their sash, and I wanted to be like them,” she said.
Although it was her childhood aspiration, Powers did not put much thought into it as she prepared to attend Manhattan College, the Bronx. The fair committee tried to contact her with the news that she was chosen as the 2012 Colleen Queen, but she was in Puerto Rico at the time. She did not read the news in her e-mail until she returned home.
Serving as Colleen Queen will only be the newest way Powers serves the Irish Fair. She performed at the event nearly every year with the Buckley School of Irish Dance, where she was a student for 13 years.
To honor her Irish heritage, which can be traced back to County Cork, she also joined the Gaelic Club in St. Saviour H.S., Park Slope. As part of her work for the club, Powers helped run a booth at the fair. Students from the club took turns wearing a panda costume, representing the school’s mascot.
“The little kids loved it,” she said. “The kids would come by and hug the panda and give it high-fives, and everyone else took pictures.”
Part of the reason she feels honored to be Colleen Queen is because the Great Irish Fair supports Catholic education. She said it is an honor to be part of something that will help future generations have the same opportunities she had when she attended St. Saviour elementary and high school.
Helping younger generations is part of a pattern Powers has demonstrated throughout her lifetime. As part of her Girl Scout volunteer work, she organized dances for children in Holy Name parish, Park Slope.
Though she likes to entertain children, safety always comes first. She has taught children to be junior lifeguards in Breezy Point.
Her school recognized her leadership and made her co-captain of the varsity swim team and captain of varsity cheerleading. However, getting her to speak about her accomplishments is not an easy task. She said she just follows her family’s example.
“I was raised to give back,” she said. “My mom always encouraged me to volunteer…I just want to give back to the community what was given to me.”
She said she brought the lessons she learned from her family and community to college with her as she studies civil engineering.
“St. Saviour is a very big part of my life,” she said. “I grew up there. I did everything there. My parents got married in the church, and my parents went (to the school) there.”
Being part of the St. Saviour community means more than school and volunteer work for Powers. She said it is also a religious experience. She said being part of the faith community and serving as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion has helped her deepen her relationship with God.