A Rosy Result for LCHS Girl

Natalie Petrosian didn’t remember hearing her name called by Tournament of Roses President Brad Ratliff on Tuesday morning, but she registered hearing him call her number — “No. 617” — and then the voice of her cheering mother, Rebecca Nash.
Nash also needed only to hear “617,” she said, her smile as wide as Petrosian’s. Nash has long sensed her daughter could be a worthy Rose Princess, and she encouraged her to join the nearly 1,000 applicants who embarked on a series of interviews starting Sept. 10.
“I wasn’t sure,” said Petrosian, a senior tennis player at La Cañada High School. “I didn’t know if I wanted to go through the stress and the waiting. But you know what? This is exciting.”
Petrosian, 17, was one of seven young women introduced as the 2017 Royal Court in a ceremony at the Tournament House, where 34 finalists were greeted by a large, vocal crowd of partisan supporters.
The members of the court will spend much of the next three months together, attending close to 100 functions that will culminate with the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Monday, Jan. 2.
Those other princesses are Audrey Cameron of Blair High School, Victoria Castellanos of Temple City High, Maya Khan and Lauren Powers of Arcadia High, Shannon Larsuel of Mayfield Senior School and Autumn Lundy of Polytechnic.
One of them will be named the 99th Rose Queen at the coronation ceremony Oct. 20 at the Pasadena Playhouse. Evanne Friedmann was the last LCHS student to be designated Queen of the Royal Court, in 2011.
Years before that, when their family lived in Pasadena, Nash used to put her daughter in a stroller and take her on regular walks past the Tournament House. This fall, Nash persuaded her to seize an opportunity to inspire others to engage in democracy.
“This was historically a beauty pageant only,” Nash said, “But now they’re looking for all kinds of aspects. They’re looking for ambassadors, role models. And my daughter is turning 18 in a couple of weeks, she is a new voter and she is very committed to getting young people like her, and all voters, to get out and vote. Get the facts, get as much information as you can and vote.”
That is a fact, said Petrosian — whose middle name is Rose.
“I’m really looking forward to … inspiring young women and men to exert their power in our society,” Petrosian said. “We do have an election coming up, and it’s very unique, and I’d like to see young women and millennials get out there and vote.”
Petrosian and her family moved to LCF when she was a 5th-grader. In her time at LCHS, she’s been involved with the Link Crew, the JPL Space Academy, the Future Problem Solvers Club, the 20% Time Project and the California Athletic Trainer’s Association Sports Medicine Competition. She’s also a key member of the girls’ tennis program, having played varsity singles for the past three years.
“She’s a team player,” said longtime Spartans tennis coach Will Moravec, who was at the Tournament House to watch the first of his players be named to the Royal Court. “She definitely has a little magic in her.”
Away from school, Petrosian volunteers with Rescue Train and is a fan of music, dancing, sports and writing software programs. She has her sights set on Caltech, with a plan to major in computer science with a minor in political science.
“She has really good perspective on the world and she wants to make a difference,” said LCHS Principal Ian McFeat, whose school also was represented by finalists Elyse Reed, Anisa Patel and Caitlin Mispagel. “We’re excited for her.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy senior Talar Baranian, an LCF resident, was excited, too. She cheered heartily for the five finalists from her school, Dominique Pittman, Kamela Stewart, Grace Van de Voorde, Natalie Buntich and Alexandra Tighe.
And she cheered just as hard for her middle school pal, Petrosian.
“She’s the sweetest girl I’ve ever met,” Baranian said. “She’s so kind and she’s always open to meeting new people and making new friends.”
Ratliff, an LCF resident, spoke about what a “tremendous accomplishment” it was for the young women to reach Tuesday’s final round. That extended, he added, to many others involved in their lives — including principals, tennis coaches, friends and parents.
“The theme of the 2017 Tournament of Roses is ‘Echoes of Success,’” Ratliff said. “And Echoes of Success celebrates those people, organizations and institutions that play a role in the success of others. For these 34 finalists, each of them is a success in her own right, and they would not be here this morning if not for those who supported them.
“Thank you for all you have done for these fine women.”

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