Portland and Metro-area high schools officially announced the participants of this year’s Rose Festival Court, a Portland tradition dating back to the early 1900s High school juniors and seniors, the princesses display outstanding records of school and community involvement.

Each princess will receive an academic scholarship of $3,500, courtesy of The Randall Group. After weeks of statewide travel as Rose Festival Ambassadors, one of the princesses will be crowned queen at the Rose Festival.

Devon Thompson, St. Mary’s Academy

“I love the way [the Rose Festival] brings the community together. It’s time for everybody to come together and celebrate the city.”

Amber Shackelford, Madison High School

“I’m most proud of being selected as the MAC Scholar Athlete for my class . . . . This award has also given me an opportunity to represent Madison, something I hope I get to do as a Rose Festival Court Member as well.”

Tabitha Ivan, Lincoln High School

“I am most proud of finding ways to fundraise and learning to achieve my goals despite opposition . . . . I am also proud that I have been able to manage my dyslexia and turn my academic career around by taking extra classes at night and during the summer to help me manage my disability.”

Paris Sykes, Central Catholic High School

“In high school I have overcome my shyness. I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things that I would have never done otherwise, like cheerleading and musical theater. I was forced to break out of my shell . . . . Now I can converse with a stranger and relate, and be courageous by putting myself ‘out there.'”

Cristell Gonzalez Perez, Parkrose High School

“I am most proud of being able to stay involved in helping make my community a better and safer place by doing volunteer work. Volunteering, you not only help yourself become a better person but you are also helping others live in a much safer place. Giving to the community is the least we can do.”

Elli Simotas, David Douglas High School

“I have challenged myself by taking advanced classes, and taking advantage of every opportunity possible. I’ve learned that as long as I stay focused and have my education as my top priority in life, I will be successful in anything I wish to achieve.”

Kahedja Burley, Jefferson High School

“The eligibility to skip school wasn’t the highlight of this [Rose Festival Junior Parade] event. It was the talent that annually filled the Hollywood District streets that made this event so amazing. Giving children the opportunity to showcase what they have been working long and hard on is an exciting privilege.”

Tihanne Mar-Shall, Benson High School

“I am proud of how I challenged myself academically by taking advanced placement classes and socially, despite my shyness, by participating in sports, cheerleading and choir. I am most proud of the variety of friendships I have made and learned how to interact successfully with people different from me.”

Lily Brodrick, Wilson High School

“I love the atmosphere [of the Rose Festival], there is so much anticipation. Even on the rainiest day, hundreds of people show up to gather around to celebrate Portland. The parade is a reminder to me about how lucky I am to live in a city so great.”

Naomi Tsai, Cleveland High School

“I thrive off of energy and staying busy, both inside and outside of the classroom. It is hard trying to balance all the things in my life, from academics to extracurricular activities to community service to family and friends. Even though it can be extremely stressful sometimes, I am proud of the work that I achieve.”

Erika Manzo, Roosevelt High School

“As a kid, I don’t have any memories of the Rose Festival. When I was a freshman and witnessed the coronation, I knew I wanted to run for princess when I had the opportunity. It was my first exposure to the Rose Festival celebration.”

Talia Quatraro, East Metro (Lake Oswego High School)

“I love the fact that thousands of Portlanders all come together and support this event that has so many different groups and organizations walk the streets of Downtown Portland. The creativity that adorns the electric trolleys amazes me! As a participant, walking in the parade, I feel like I am watching the inside out as I see the children who are the age I was when I first experienced the tradition.”

Olivia Berry, Grant High School

“I never would have thought I would want to be a journalist, but Grant Magazine and Memoirs Yearbook showed me how passionate I am about telling stories . . . . Most importantly, I am proud that I have been able to give back to my school by being a leader and mentor.”

Sierra Hosea, Franklin High School

“My favorite Rose Festival event is the Grand Floral Parade because of all the practice and organization that very clearly goes into the production of the event. It gives joy to the public by its unique and beautiful tradition.”

Clara Cannon, West Metro (Valley Catholic High School)

“I believe that the high point of the Rose Festival comes with the anticipation exuding from the audience before the parade begins. Little children run across the clear city streets with chalk in their hands and smiles on their youthful faces. The hustle and bustle of city life is calmed for one morning as everyone emerges to watch the Rose Parade. I enjoy seeing the beautiful floats, but in the moments preceding the start, a sense of unity encompasses the crowd as they all wait in hopeful expectation of the entertainment to come.”


When not writing, Sierra can be found conducting experiments in the chemistry lab or whipping up delectable creations in her kitchen. With a passion for storytelling, Sierra puts her natural curiosity to use investigating enlightening angles for news and events here at The Oregon Optimist.