This is a moment that Tournament of Roses fans anticipate from the first Tournament of Roses Royal Court tryouts in September to the evening in October when the Rose Queen is announced and crowned in the splendor of Mikimoto pearls. Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos was chosen by the Queen and Court committee for an honor that only 98 women have held before. Possessing the poise of a Rose Queen, when her name was announced, she almost cried, but not quite.
Tonight’s coronation was a celebration of the 2017 theme “Echoes of Success” as well as the 2017 Royal Court, who will ride down Colorado Blvd. on Jan. 2, 2017. Queen Victoria is one of 771 people who tried out for the 2017 Royal Court, and one of seven young ladies who made it. She attends Temple City High School and is active in Brighterside Singers and musical theater. It was an exciting evening, and we will write more details tomorrow, along with my brief interview with Tori and a photo gallery of the people and event, For tonight, though, we’ll put it to be with a hearty congratulations to the 99th Rose Queen.
With more than a week of activity surrounding the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game, the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena is filled with pageantry, sport, family-friendly activities and memory-making events. On Jan, 2, 2017, a volunteer organization of 935 members puts on “America’s New Year Celebration.”
The 128th Rose Parade features 21 bands from all over the world, 20 equestrian groups, and around 45 flower-covered floats echoing the theme “Echoes of Success.” The 103rd Rose Bowl Game pits the top teams from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 in the traditional rivalry of the oldest post-season collegiate bowl game. In addition, visitors can attend Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, and Showcase of Floats.
Read all about it by clicking on the links below, which contain information about the events and people involved as well as tips on attending the events and getting around. The list will be updated as articles are posted. Be sure to bookmark this page and return to it frequently!
Tuesday morning at Tournament House, 34 young women, each one qualified to represent the Tournament of Roses on the 2017 Royal Court, stood on the south porch of the Wrigley Mansion, each one hoping to hear her school, number, and name called to be on the Royal Court. That happened for seven ladies who will have the adventure of their lives over the next year. Rose Princesses Bryce Bakewell, Natalie Hernandez-Barber, and Donaly Marquez ended their 2016 service by handing rose bouquets to the girls.
This is a pretty impressive gaggle of girls. Four are planning on going into careers related to the medical field, one wants to study computer science at Caltech, another will study broadcast journalism, and one has already performed in five musicals. “Lucky” is not the word to describe these young ladies. “Mature,” “grounded,” and “extraordinary” are better terms. Readers will be amazed at the variety of volunteer experience and interests each one has.
The members of the Royal Court will be whisked off to Newport Beach this weekend and over the next two weeks will get to know each other, bond as a Court, and be observed by members of the Queen & Court Committee. The Rose Queen will be chosen from these seven girls and announced at the Coronation on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 at the Pasadena Playhouse. Tickets are available for purchase from Sharp Seating Company.
Rose Princess Audrey Mariam Cameron, 17, is a senior at Blair High School and lives in Pasadena. She said it’s a tradition to try out for the Rose Court, as Blair student and Rose Princess Donaly Marquez did last year. “I’m so excited to follow in her footsteps,” she told us. “So excited to represent our school.”
Audrey is part of the National Honors Society, PTSA, ASB, the varsity cross country team, and varsity track and field team. She volunteers as a mentor through SWAMP (Students with a Mentor Program) and the IB (International Baccalaureate) Mentor Program. She is musical as well as athletic, playing the violin and piano. She also enjoys reading, baking, and snowboarding. Audrey hopes to study pre-med and English literature at UCLA. Her parents are Margaret Cameron and the late Scott Cameron and she has three siblings, Madeleine, Liam and Luke.
Rose Princess Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos,17, is a senior at Temple City High School and lives in Temple City. She sings with Brighterside Singers at TCHS and has performed in five of the school’s musicals. We saw her in The Music Man as one of the “Pick-A-Littles” earlier this year. She said that the next musical will be My Fair Lady, and she put in a pitch for the annual Fall Festival on Oct. 15 that helps raise money for the vocal arts program.
Tori volunteers with the Pasadena Humane Society, Zooh Corner at Petco and the American Legion in Eagle Rock. She enjoys writing short stories, reading, painting, collecting antiques and thrift shopping with her mom. Tori plans to study English, Musical Theater, and Japanese and would like to attend Amherst College or Smith College. She is the daughter of Jesse Castellanos and Rachel Lasota and has three siblings, John, Erika and Margarita.
Rose Princess Maya Kawaguchi Khan, 18, is a senior at Arcadia High School and lives in South Pasadena. She told us the interview process was a bit stressful, but she prayed before each interview. We spoke with her mother, Yoko Kawaguchi, who said she herself hasn’t been too involved in the Tournament of Rose until the day of the announcement. Is it all new to you, we asked? “Yes, it is!” she replied.
Maya plans on studying nursing and would like to attend Cal State Fullerton. She is a student producer on Arcadia High School’s Apache News, an online news channel and volunteers with Union Station Homeless Shelter serving food to homeless people, Arcadia Recreation and Community Services coaching youth basketball, and as a Bible study teacher for elementary to middle school students. Maya enjoys going to the gym, trying new foods, watching movies, and exploring the city. She is the daughter of Yoko Kawaguchi and has one brother, Alex.
Rose Princess Shannon Tracy Larsuel, 17, is a senior at Mayfield Senior School and lives in Altadena. Her Number One college of choice to study human biology with a focus in pre-med is Yale. We asked what her backup schools are. Georgetown or U Penn, she said, “Anywhere on the East Coast.” She has wanted to be a Rose Princess ever since the Royal Court visited her Girl Scout troop.
Shannon has been a National Honor Society member since 2014 and served this past summer as an intern at The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Research. She serves teen vice president with Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Pasadena Chapter Group V. and enjoys reading, traveling and exploring, and spending time with family and friends. Shannon’s parents are Dori Larsuel and the late Roy Larsuel; she has one sister, Chelsea.
Rose Princess Autumn Marie Lundy, 17, is a senior at Polytechnic School and lives in Altadena. Born and raised in Pasadena, she told us she grew up with the Rose Parade. “I’ve been waiting for the tryouts! I’ve dreamt about it since I was a little girl.”
Autumn belongs to the Girls Service League, Crescenta Valley Soccer Club and girls’ varsity soccer team. She is currently co-president of the Black Student Union and has served as a student ambassador in the organization for the past three years. She volunteers with the Kidspace Halloween Festival, Reading Partners, Soccer without Borders, and Villa Parke Community Center. Autumn enjoys acting, drawing and painting portraits. She would like to attend Baylor University and plans on majoring in human biology and minoring in human physiology. Autumn is the daughter of Jon Lundy and Kim Lundy and has one sister.
Rose Princess Natalie Rose Petrosian, 17, is a senior at La Cañada High School and lives in La Cañada Flintridge. 2016 Rose Princess Natalie Hernandez-Barber handed her the bouquet of roses when her name was called to take her place on the Royal Court. She told us that she wasn’t sure she would try out, but her mother urged her on. “Mother knows best with girls,” she laughed. She enjoyed getting to know the other girls as they waited to be interviewed by the Queen & Court Committee.
Natalie is part of the girls’ varsity tennis team, Link Crew, JPL Space Academy, Future Problem Solvers Club, the 20% Time Project, and the California Athletic Trainer’s Association (CATA) Sports Medicine Competition. She volunteers with Rescue Train and enjoys listening to music, dancing, watching sporting events and writing software programs. She would like to attend the California Institute of Technology and plans on majoring in computer science with a minor in political science. Natalie is the daughter of Shahen Petrosian and Rebecca Loera Nash.
Rose Princess Lauren “Emi” Emiko Powers, 17, is a senior at Arcadia High School and lives in Arcadia. “I’m so excited. I can’t believe it’s happening,” she said. She is looking forward to the many events the Royal Court participates in, especially going to the hospital to meet the kids.
Emi is part of Arcadia High School’s Apache News, and Speech and Debate. Her volunteer work includes Arcadia Assisteens, Girl Scouts, Methodist Hospital’s ICU and her church youth group. She enjoys Taiko drums, bike riding, traveling, baking, and making those around her laugh. Emi would like to attend Syracuse University and plans on majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in public relations. Emi is the daughter of Fred and Candice Powers and she has two brothers, Jonathan and Michael.
Photo Gallery of the Announcement of the 2017 Royal Court
It was an exciting moment for 34 young ladies, finalists for the 2017 Rose Parade Royal Court, as they took their places on the steps of Tournament House in Pasadena for a group photo shoot today. Nearly 1,000 people (there were a few boys) tried out for the Court and after three rounds of interviews, 34 were chosen to participate in the final step. In just six days, on Oct. 4, seven girls will be announced as Rose Princesses. The Queen and Court Committee used several criteria to choose the finalists, including poise, speaking ability, academic achievement, and community and school involvement.
The breakdown by school is Flintridge Sacred Heart, six; Arcadia High School, five; La Cañada High School, four; John Marshall Fundamental High and Maranatha High School, three each; Mayfield Senior School, Pasadena City College, Polytechnic School, and Temple City High School, two each; Alverno High School, Blair High School, John Muir High School, La Salle High School, and South Pasadena High School, one each.
Top row, from left: (#617) Natalie Rose Petrosian, La Cañada High School; (#660) Elyse Juliann Reed, La Cañada High School; (#687) Dominique Noelle Pittman, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; (#727) Audrey Mariam Cameron, Blair High School; (#762) Tiffany Claire Echols, Pasadena City College. (#732) Maya Kawaguchi Khan, Arcadia High School.
Fourth row, from left: (#350) Kamela Elyse Stewart, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; (#371) Stephanie Shih, Temple City High School; (#470) Sophia Guadalupe Lopez, South Pasadena High School; (#531) Somer Nicole Tiffani Isaac, Maranatha High School; (#533) Victoria Cecilia Castellanos, Temple City High School; (#551) Grace Osher Van de Voorde, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; (#590) Anisa Keyur Patel, La Cañada High School.
Third row, from left: (#253) Dineen Elise Tamayo, Pasadena City College; (#265) Anne Marien Bishop, Maranatha High School; (#299) Shannon Tracy Larsuel, Mayfield Senior School; (#325) Lauren Emiko Powers, Arcadia High School; (#326) Alyssa Hadlyn Chan-Evangelista, Arcadia High School; (#332) Noni Sakile Davis, Polytechnic School; (#334) Mikayla Jyvonne Nicholas O’Reggio, Mayfield Senior School; (#339) Moondera Nodeja Rabb, Alverno High School.
Second row, from left: (#121) Natalie Marye Buntich, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; (#138) Elena Lizette Flores, John Marshall Fundamental High School; (#164) Caitlin Ann Mispagel, La Cañada High School; (#172) Alexandra Ann Tighe, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; (#193) Raquel Ann Ruiz, La Salle High School; (#211) Kin Mirley Spencer, Maranatha High School; (#212) Autumn Marie Lundy, Polytechnic School.
First row, from left: (#21) Mariah LeighAnn Benn, John Marshall Fundamental High School; (#27) Mishtii Rajmohan Murari, Flintridge Preparatory School; (#42) Kennedy Diana Callaway, John Marshall Fundamental High School; (#53) Sophia Olivia Calabretta, Arcadia High School; (#85) Marissa Rose Mendez, Arcadia High School; (#114) Lauryn Camille Miller, John Muir High School.
It’s always a treat to talk to young women who try out for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. It’s even sweeter to catch up with those who made it and have returned to Tournament House to explain the process to the hopefuls lined up on a warm Saturday morning in September. At the tryouts on Sept. 10, Rose Princesses Natalie Hernandez-Barber and Donaly Marquez from the 2016 Court found a few minutes between the groups of girls they were orienting to speak with us.
We spoke with a dozen young ladies after they had passed through the first round of judging and taken a tour of Tournament House. The photos and a little bit about each one are in the gallery below.