Photo courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses Pasadena Unified School District graduating seniors being honored by the Tournament of Roses included (front row, from left) Oscar Damian Larios, Cole Brown, Florence Winslow, Simone Kuo, Ritaj Abdulla, Tia Reed and Noah Griffin. Back row: Citizens Business Bank President Brian T. Mauntel, Tournament of Roses President Bob Miller, Citizens Business Bank Senior Vice President LaVon Short, PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald and Citizens Business Bank Chief Executive Officer David A. Brager. Not pictured is student Madeleine Chen.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association has selected eight high school seniors as the 2021 Rose Scholars. The group consists of Ritaj Abdulla, Pasadena High School; Simone Kuo, John Marshall Fundamental High School; Cole Brown, Marshall Fundamental; Oscar Damian Larios, Pasadena High School; Madeleine Chen, Marshall; Tia Reed, John Muir High School; Noah Griffin, John Muir; and Florence Winslow, Rose City High School.
Rose Scholars, presented by Citizens Business Bank, is a program designed to help students in our community thrive and to foster their potential. The program has awarded $20,000 in scholarships to eight graduating seniors from the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD).
“Citizens Business Bank and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association have enjoyed a long-standing relationship, and we were honored to support and launch the 2021 class of Rose Scholars,” said David A. Brager, chief executive officer of Citizens Business Bank. “Education and opportunity are fundamental to the future of the communities that we serve, and we wish all the PUSD students who applied or were selected well in their future endeavors.”
As part of the application process, students were invited to submit a creative piece that reflected their future dreams, goals and aspirations. A one-page reflection describing their thoughts and feelings about the piece was also required, as well as still images of their work and a video recording describing their inspiration.
Instead of a minimum GPA requirement, applicants were asked to obtain a recommendation from a teacher, coach, counselor or community member.
“Congratulations to the 2021 class of Rose Scholars. We appreciate the support that PUSD students receive from partners like Citizens Business Bank,” said PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald. “As a former banker, I know firsthand the impact businesses have in the community when they support students. We’re also grateful for the continued relationship with our community partner, the Tournament of Roses. Their steadfast commitment to Pasadena, its people, and youth is a shining example of what we can do when we come together.”
Applications were reviewed and scored based on the structure of their art, the organization and language of their written reflection, and the recommendation from an educator, coach or community member. The review committee was comprised of Tournament of Roses members, staff and PUSD representatives.
“Working closely with PUSD teachers and administration, the goal was to make the scholarship as attainable as possible for all students, “said Bob Miller, president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “The scholarship program included all PUSD high schools, inclusive of the district’s non-traditional high schools, and supports students that have overcome adversity and pave a way for their future.”
The Tournament of Roses Association and its foundation are focused on positively impacting the Pasadena community with charitable giving, volunteerism, and community involvement,” according to a spokesperson. “As part of this work, the Association has partnered with Citizens Business Bank to launch Rose Scholars and other signature community programs.”