The Tournament of Roses on Monday announced its chosen seven members of the 2018 Royal Court from 37 contending finalists, pulling three young Pasadena women into the time-honored Rose fold.
As a frenzied crowd of family, friends and classmates whooped up their support, Alexandra Artura from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Isabella Marez from La Salle High School; and Savannah Bradley of Pasadena High School, carefully descended the tiered staircase of the historic Tournament house. The wide-eyed girls were part laughing, part crying.
The Royal Court, considered ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena community, will attend numerous community and media functions throughout the year. The court’s grand finale will be riding on a float in the 129th Rose Parade and attending the Rose Bowl Game on Monday, Jan. 1.
The other Royal Court members include Arcadia High School’s Lauren Buehner and Sydney Pickering, and La Cañada High School’s Georgia Cervenka and Julianne Lauenstein.
One of the seven will be crowned as the 100th Rose Queen on Oct. 18 at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Each clutching her fragrant bouquet of roses, the Royal Court seven stood after the naming ceremony to pose for their photos and speak briefly to the press.
“I’m just present in the moment right now, and trying really hard not to cry,” said Marez, her voice trembling. “I looked over at my family and saw my dad crying, so I’m trying to hold it back.”
Marez said she hopes to make a difference in her community this year, and part of her goals would be to bring awareness to issues including gay rights and women’s rights. At La Salle, she is a leadership service commissioner and a youth ministry leader.
“I really want to share with people that, together, we can bring change and make a difference in our community,” Marez said.
Bradley shared the excitement, noting that she was in “a state of shock, still wondering, ‘Is this for real?’”
The PHS senior said she didn’t sleep much the previous night, instead holding a sleep-over with her best friend, also a Royal Court finalist. The pair prepared together, painting their nails and doing their hair.
“I want to touch people’s hearts and make them want to be better people,” said Bradley, who plans to major in criminology and hopes to help curb gang violence in her lifetime. She is president of Xinos and Kudos of Gamma Lambda, activities commissioner for the Black Student Union and a writer for the Chronicle, the PHS newspaper.
“I’d like to focus on gang violence, how it relates to the prison system and how it affects our communities,” Bradley added.
A delirious group of PHS classmates clamored and cheered for Bradley as she was called. She is the first PHS representative on the Royal Court since 2014.
“We knew she would make it,” classmate senior Kate Iko said. “Savannah is the friendliest person I know; it’s just logical they would choose her.”
Meanwhile, Artura, a FSHA senior, smiled broadly, noting that she is very excited for the events in the coming year as a Royal Court princess. She is president of the National Honor Society, a National Hispanic Scholar and a member of the California Scholarship Federation.
“I was not expecting this at all, but I am so happy to be a part of it,” she said. “I want to be a role model for young girls and young women, and I look forward to making a difference in my community.”
About 1,000 young women applied to participate in the interview process. The Tournament of Roses Queen and Court Committee made its selection over the course of four interviews, based on a criteria including poise, speaking ability, academic achievement, youth leadership and community and school involvement.
“The 2018 Royal Court consists of seven extraordinary young women who are now ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses,” Dave Link, chair of the TOR Queen and Court Committee, told the early morning gathering. “And the best part of all, they have only just begun.”