Camille Kennedy announced as the 102nd Rose Queen of the Tournament of Roses

Rose Princesses Rukah Saif, Mia Thorsen, Emilie Risha, Reese Rosental Saporito, Michael Wilkins, Camille Kennedy, and Cole Fox are introduced by KTLA News anchor Lynette Romero

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Queen Camille Kennedy, wearing the Mikimoto crown featuring more than 600 cultured pearls and six carats of diamonds and the white gown designed by Tadashi Shoji.

On the patio of the famed Pasadena Playhouse, gathered friends, family, Tournament of Roses members, and media bustle in anticipation of one of the most exciting annual events in the city. Inside, after the chatter dies down, the 102nd Rose Queen will be announced. Chosen from seven young women on the Tournament of Roses 2020 Royal Court, the queen will preside over the 131st Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2020. But who will it be?

The story is really in the pictures in the gallery below, so be sure to take a look and read the captions to learn more about the women of the Tournament of Roses Royal Court.

Amid servers carrying plates of hors d’oeuvres, the music of The Mariachi Divas, and snapping cameras, we were able to identify the parents (the dads wear white rose boutonnieres) and talk with a few. They had lovely memories of their daughters, and were happy to share with The Rose Examiner. For more about the Royal Court, check out the Royal Court page on this website.

ON THE PATIO

Princess Rukah Saif must have set the record for the family member who traveled the farthest. Her grandmother, Shamsun Nahar, flew all the way from Bangladesh and just arrived a few days earlier. Rukah’s mother, Rumana Rashid, said her daughter had been going to the Rose Parade since she was a child perched on her father’s shoulders.

“She enjoyed it through her whole youth,” Rashid said. She described Rukah as quiet and very kindhearted. “She is our only child. She grew up with us.”

Her mother and father, Saif Haroon, were graduate students—she in molecular biology and he in civil engineering—when Rukah was born. She was still a preschooler when they moved to California, and has been to the parade very year since. She even marched with the Arcadia High School Band in one and helped to decorate a float.

Princess Michael  Wilkins—“Mike” to her family and friends—is also an only child. He father, Overton Wilkins, said, “She’s my little sunshine,” and related how he sang “This Little Light of Mine” to her.

“She always made us proud,” he said. “She’s a nice young lady and we enjoy her.” Indeed. Her father said that in addition to being quite an athlete, having won in CIF tennis tournaments, “She’s just as good in speech and debate.” She’s been on the Maranatha High School team for four years, and went to the NAACP oratory finals in Detroit last July.

“I told her if  you practice long enough, good things will happen,” Wilkins said. “She’s been a blessing to us.”

Princess Reese Rosental Saporito’s father, Chris Rosental Saporito, said, “I am so proud of her. She is fantastic.” She has handled her position on the Royal Court with grace, he said. Reese is on the soccer team with fellow Marshall Fundamental School Princess Mia Thorsen.

INSIDE THE PLAYHOUSE

It was pretty much an all-female and heavily Latina cast, with Pres. Laura Farber leading the way as the first Latina (and only third woman) leading the 2020 Tournament of Roses. She was joined by the chair of the Queen & Court Committee, Ruth Martinez-Baenen, emcee Lynette Romero from KTLA News, and of course the Divas. Farber welcomed the audience, thanked the sponsors, and introduced the Pasadena Playhouse director of development Nancy Griffith Baxter and emcee Romero.

Each of the seven princesses was introduced with a short slide show featuring photos from early childhood and teen years. Voiceovers by her parents mentioned accomplishments, character, and personality. When all seven were onstage in their diaphanous champagne gowns, it was time for the announcement. Farber stretched out the announcement with several teasing false starts, then opened the envelope to announce, “Camille Kennedy!” After hugs and photos, the girls left to be fitted with their tiaras and for Queen Camille to change into her white gown.

In the interim, Farber asked the former princesses and queens in attendance to stand up, and she introduced the 1940 Rose Queen, Margaret Huntley Main, attending her 80th coronation. Queen Margaret, who wrote the book A Rose Queen Is Forever, advised, “Enjoy every moment. You are making memories for the rest of your life.”

There was a slideshow of the Royal Court at community events and their retreat in Solvang, a Danish community in Central California. The Mariachi Divas gave a spirited performance of mariachi favorites. When the set was done, they walked off the stage playing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”

As each Rose Princess was led back onstage on her father’s arm, she received a bouquet of red roses from two former princesses, Maya Kawaguchi Kahn (2017) and Helen Rossi (2019). The previous Rose Queen usually presents the bouquet to the newly-announced queen, but due to a calculus midterm in Chicago, Queen Louise Deser Siskel could not make it. She sent a video promising to take Queen Camille out for a deep dish pizza to make up for it, and Martinez-Baenen presented the roses.

OVER BUT STILL GOING

After the program, there were rounds of still photos and interviews with the media for the members of the Royal Court. We were able to get a few words with Queen Camille and some of the other members of the court. Quotes from the princesses are in the captions below; they are amazing young women, so be sure to read them! We asked Queen Camille, who is fluent in Japanese and wants to attend college in the country, if she learns languages easily and what she learns about others from knowing their language.

“I do!” she replied. “That’s what I’m proud of.” Math and science are more challenging for her, she said. In addition to Japanese, she is “fascinated with Korean.”

“The best way to learn a culture is to learn the language, and if you’re interested in [learning about] a culture, learn the language.”

OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT OF ROSES BIO

Camille is a senior at La Salle College Preparatory and lives in Pasadena. She is currently a member of her school’s drama/musical theater troupe and has been featured in three productions, including a lead role in the spring 2019 musical, “City of Angels.”  Camille is a member of the afterschool choral group and the Support Our Troops Club.  Camille enjoys listening to music, performing in theater productions with friends, cooking, and hitting the gym with her dad.  She plans to pursue a liberal arts degree in Japanese linguistics, social sciences, or culture and media studies. Camille is interested in going to college in Japan, with Waseda University in Tokyo and Asia Pacific University in Kyushu as her top choices.  Camille is the daughter of Tim and Jennifer Kennedy; she has two younger sisters, Ava and Esmé.

2020 Rose Queen Camille and the Royal Court will attend numerous community and media functions, serving as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena community, and the greater Los Angeles area. The grand finale will be their appearance on the Royal Court float in the 131st Rose Parade® presented by Honda and attending the 106th Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual, both on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

 

Coronation of the 101st Rose Queen and Presentation of the 2019 Royal Court tickets on sale

Pres. Lance Tibbet crowns 100th Rose Queen, Isabella Marez

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The announcement of the Rose Queen, who is selected from the seven young women on the Royal Court, is one of the most exciting events in the lead up to the Rose Parade on Jan. 1. The coronation of the 101st Rose Queen takes place on Oct. 23, 2018, and readers can be there to see it real time. E-Tickets are now on sale at Sharp Seating at $40 for the general public and $15 for students.

The celebration starts with a reception on the patio of the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino, at 5:30 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m. A video of exciting moments in the life of the three-week-old Royal Court is played, and each young lady is interviewed. The presentation of the Rose Princesses in their formal gowns follows, and Pres. Gerald Freeny opens the envelope containing the name of the Rose Queen.

For all the news on the Royal Court and lots of photos, be sure to check out the Royal Court page on The Rose Examiner website.

Tournament of Roses crowns 100th Rose Queen Isabella: Photo gallery

100th Rose Queen Isabella Marie Marez is flanked by (L-R) Rose Princesses Georgia Jane Cervenka, Sydney Grace Pickering, Julianne Elise Lauenstein, Alexandra Marie Artura, Savannah Rose Bradley, Lauren Elizabeth Buehner

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

One of the most exciting events for Rose Parade aficionados—and that includes people all across America—is the Announcement and Coronation of the Rose Queen and Presentation of the Royal Court. This year, people were especially riveted, because the young woman who made it from one of 700 to one of seven would serve as the 100th Rose Queen. She will preside over the 129th Rose Parade and the 104th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018 and will be asked a thousand times what it is like to be Number 100.

The audience waited breathlessly last Wednesday evening as Pres. Lance Tibbet pulled the name out of the envelope he had been handed by Queen & Court chair Dave Link. Reporters and photographers had pens and cameras at the ready. The seven girls on the Royal Court held hands, some with eyes closed, and steeled themselves for the decision one way or another. And it came, so swiftly after what must have seemed like an eternity to them.

Pres. Tibbet announced, “The 100th Rose Queen, from La Salle High School, is Isabella Marie Marez!” The audience exploded. The princesses on the Royal Court swarmed Queen Isabella. The moment had arrived and passed, and the Queen for a Year retreated to change from her champagne and pink gown into pure white.

Making a Difference

The event is more than the announcement, of course. It’s about pageantry and history and fun, and the accomplishments of the young women who will serve as ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses. We attempt to capture some of that in this article; the photo gallery at the end of this article takes you there in images.

After a reception on the patio of the historic Pasadena Playhouse, also celebrating 100 years, the Continue reading “Tournament of Roses crowns 100th Rose Queen Isabella: Photo gallery”

100th Rose Queen crowned by Tournament of Roses is Isabella Marie Marez

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Isabella Marie Marez stepped up to receive her crown as the 100th Rose Queen tonight at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The Mikimoto pearl crown was placed on her head by Lance Tibbet, president of the Tournament of Roses. Queen Isabella will lead a Royal Court of six princesses as they make appearances and perform community service in the next several weeks, capped by a ride in the Rose Parade on the Queen and Court float on Jan. 1, 2018. As the 100th Rose Queen, Isabella will  hold a special place in the history of the Rose Parade.

The Rose Queen attends La Salle High School and lives in Altadena. She exemplifies the 2018 Tournament of Roses theme “Making a Difference” by her charitable work with her school, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and in the many service clubs in which she participates. She is a Youth Ministry Leader and a leadership service commissioner at La Salle.

We had a short conversation with Queen Isabella after the ceremony, and will be posting that and a gallery of the coronation event with more news about the goings-on tomorrow. Meanwhile, check out the articles on our 2018 Royal Court page.

Buy tickets to the coronation of the 100th Rose Queen & presentation of 2018 Royal Court

99th Rose Queen Victoria

by Laura Berthold Monteros

One of the most exciting events in Pasadena is the announcement and coronation of the Rose Queen, who will ride at the top of the Queen & Court float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. The 2018 Queen will have a very special place in the Tournament of Roses Queen’s Club, because she will be the 100th young woman to hold that title. E-Tickets are now on sale at Sharp Seating for this very special event.

The announcement and coronation of the 100th Rose Queen takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino. There is a public reception at 6 p.m. and the program starts promptly at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $15 for students. The student price encourages classmates and friends of the seven members of the Royal Court to come. The Rose Queen is chosen from among these seven young women.

For all the news on the Royal Court and lots of photos, be sure to check out the Royal Court page on The Rose Examiner website.

A joyful coronation of the 99th Tournament of Roses Queen Victoria Castellanos

The 2017 Tournament of Roses Royal Court: Princesses Shannon, Natalie, and Maya; Queen Victoria; Princesses Audrey, Autumn, and Emi. c.2016 LB Monteros
The 2017 Tournament of Roses Royal Court: Princesses Shannon, Natalie, and Maya; Queen Victoria; Princesses Audrey, Autumn, and Emi. c.2016 LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

There could hardly be a Rose Queen with a more expressive face than Tori Castellanos. The shock and tears when her name was read as 99th Tournament of Roses Queen on Thursday evening, the huge smile when the she received the crown and roses, the seriousness displayed as she repeated the Queen’s Oath were spontaneous and heartfelt. That ability to quickly switch between joy and seriousness, to show her emotions on her face, is quite charming. With family, friends, schoolmates and teachers on hand to cheer, the celebration was truly a joyous event. Here’s how it happened.

Back to the beginning

An air of excitement and anticipation rippled over the patio on Oct. 20 as people waited for the doors of the historic Pasadena Playhouse to open for the announcement and coronation of the young woman who will reign over the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 2, 2017. The seven members of the Royal Court were escorted down the red carpet into the auditorium by white-suited members of the Queen & Court Committee. And then, the doors swung open. Let’s enter that door as if we didn’t know yet that Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos received the Mikimoto pearl crown.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this article. It tells a lot of the story, and at the end, just for fun, there are a few shots of Tori in performances with Temple City High School.

Continue reading “A joyful coronation of the 99th Tournament of Roses Queen Victoria Castellanos”