She cried, she got hugs and red roses, she smiled for scores of photographs and interviews. But, above all, she tried to get over her shock.
Charmaine Beth Shryock, a 17-year-old senior at Westridge School in Pasadena, realized a lifelong dream Tuesday by being chosen Queen of the Tournament of Roses, which marks its 100th anniversary on Jan. 2.
At a festive announcement ceremony accented by flags, bunting and band music, Shryock was chosen from among the seven Pasadena-area teen-agers on this year’s Royal Court. She accepted the honor with an elated air of disbelief.
“I really didn’t think it would be me,” she told a crowd of reporters and television cameras, shaking her head and smiling. “I thought it would be someone else.”
She described how as a young child she watched the Rose Parade from the sidelines each year, dreaming she might someday be the queen. But a week ago, she expressed surprise that she had even survived the first round of cuts.
“It was a dream I thought would never come true,” she said Tuesday.
Shryock, a member of the student government and the varsity tennis team at Westridge School, speaks fluent French and spent part of last year as an exchange student in France. She also enjoys dramatic theater, skiing and swimming and is leaning toward a college major in communications to become a TV news anchorwoman.
The announcement ended a monthlong selection process that began with 847 would-be Rose Queens. The seven-member court, chosen last week after four rounds of cuts, is expected to represent the Tournament of Roses at nearly 100 special events in the coming year, including the centennial Rose Parade.
Other members of the court are Raquel Anne Black, 19, of Pasadena City College; Kristin Elizabeth Hansen, 17, of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Lacy Kiyoe Endo, 17, of South Pasadena High School; Heidi Griffith Marsh, 17, of Mayfield Senior School; Carolyn Beach, 19, of Pasadena City College, and Tomorrow Leigh, 17, of John Marshall Fundamental High School.
Lorne Brown, chairman of the nine-member Queen and Court Committee, called the task of selecting this year’s queen especially difficult because all seven court members showed the kind of leadership, speaking ability and composure that the tournament prizes.
Shryock emerged as the best composite of all those qualities, he said.
Still, it took four hours, meeting at his home on Sunday evening, before committee members could arrive at a decision, Brown said. And they did so only after adjourning for a catered chicken dinner.
“Usually we pick the Queen and then eat,” Brown said. “But this year it took so long we had to break in the middle of it.”