It won’t be long before Kathryn Elizabeth Peltier struts in her elaborate gown and bows before crowds at her coronation and Queen’s Tea during the Texas Rose Festival.
The 19-year-old is looking forward to the fall festivities. She’s ready to meet new people and share memories. Miss Peltier said she has a laid back family and their mission this rose season is to enjoy themselves.
“I’m honored that people thought of me to represent the town,” she said. “I just want everyone to have fun this year, including myself. I want everyone to know how much the amount of commerce that comes to Tyler and how much they do mean to our city.”
Miss Peltier is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. While she hasn’t decided on a major, she is considering communication to prepare for a career in advertising.
But her true love is art and may select art history as a minor. She’s always been creative, partaking in painting and sculpture making. It resonates with her because she has dyslexia, a language processing disorder.
Miss Peltier has had problems with phonetics, which prompted her to become good at memorizing things.
“I talk a lot better than I write,” she said. “I just cannot get my thoughts on paper.”
The Robert E. Lee High School graduate found help after finally being diagnosed in fifth grade.
“I knew Katie was bright and because she was bright it was hard to convince teachers that something’s not right,” her mother, Mary K. Peltier, said.
She, like this year’s Duchess of the Texas Rose Festival, Kathleen Bertram, have had to overcome learning disabilities in order to succeed academically. Instead of a full load, Miss Peltier takes nine-hour course loads.
Throughout grade school, and even today, the dyslexia has helped Miss Peltier learn good study skills, which in turn, has helped her do well on tests.
While she must be tedious in her studies, it has humbled her.
“It’s kind of a blessing in disguise,” she said. “I feel like I’m such as foresighted person that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If I want something. I’m OK with working as hard as I can to get it.”
And she’s not shy about stating that she has dyslexia.
“I take pride in that I’m smart and I work hard,” she said. “It makes me happy when I can work hard and achieve something.”
Her mother agreed that her daughter is dedicated to putting in the hard work.
“No one is perfect,” Mrs. Peltier said. “Everyone struggles with something. When you have awareness you can be more compassionate and it allows you to accept ‘I am different and I am going to do it this way.’”
The college student learned that she was selected as the Rose Queen while at the Four Seasons in Austin with her family. That’s where Texas Rose Festival President Preston Smith shared the news, along with a bouquet of flowers.
She was also surprised with a film crew, as filmmaker Ashley Bush has been following Miss Peltier for a documentary about the long-running festival. While she anticipates all of the activities she’ll have an opportunity to do with new and old friends, she wants to reflect on the reason for the festival— celebrating Tyler.
“It’s not just another East Texas town, Miss Peltier said. “We really do have our mark in the country.”