LCHS, FSHA, Prep students named to Rose Court

[Updated at 1 p.m.: Three high school seniors from La Cañada Flintridge were named Monday to the 93rd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Royal Court, capping off a rigorous four-round interview process that attracted nearly 1,100 applicants.

They were: Evanne Friedmann of La Cañada High School, Kathryn Thomson of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Jessica Montoya of Flintridge Preparatory School.

“I feel so overwhelmed,” Kathryn, 17, said. “As you keep getting closer it becomes more real, and now to be standing here — it is unbelievable and I am just so grateful.”

The other 2011 court members are Tatyane Berrios of Arcadia High School, Sarah Fredrickson of Maranatha High School, Tenaya Senzaki of Pasadena High School and Michelle Washington of Pasadena City College.

The Rose Queen, who will be announced on Oct. 19, will preside over the 122nd Rose Parade and the 97th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, along with the rest of the court.

A band played, the crowd cheered and the finalists smiled ear-to-ear as Ed Afsharian, chairman of the Queen and Court Committee, and Jeffrey Throop, president of the Tournament of Roses, named the court members.

The strongest showing of support came from the Sacred Heart contingent, which included about 100 school girls and several administrators wearing scarlet blazers and waving signs with the names of each of the four finalists from their school.

Newly-named court member Evanne, also 17, said she spent much of the morning singing along to music and trying to keep her breathing steady.

“I can’t believe it, I am honored to even be considered,” Evanne said. “I was so excited just to hear my name. My jaw dropped. It was unbelievable.”

Her family was equally ecstatic. Gayle Friedmann said she reminded her daughter throughout the tryout process to enjoy the experience, and that her family loved her no matter the outcome.

“We are shocked. It is thrilling,” Friedmann said. “We never expected this.”

The seven court members face a rigorous schedule that includes nearly 150 appearances in the coming months, including visits to hospitals and schools, photos shoots and media interviews, all of which culminate on New Year’s Day with the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.

“My friends and family are here to support me, and all these young women up here are here to support each other,” Kathryn said of the busy months ahead. “And I think we can do it. It is going to take work but I think I have a great support system.”

Competing for one of the seven spots on the Rose Court has become a time-honored tradition for young women in the San Gabriel Valley, many of whom grew up idolizing the Rose Queen and her Royal Court. Candidates must be between 17 and 21 years of age, and be enrolled full-time at a school within one of the Pasadena Community College Trustees Districts. This year there were nearly 1,100 applicants for the court.

Jessica Montoya, 17, has saved an autograph from a past Rose Queen in a box of keepsakes since she was in elementary school. She said she was hesitant to invite friends to the announcement of the court for fear she wouldn’t be included.

“This is amazing,” Jessica said. “I never could have dreamed of this moment. I did tell a few of my friends, ‘Please, you don’t really have to come, if I don’t make it, it is kind of awkward.’ But it is really nice they came anyway just to show how much they really support me.”

She worked hard to genuinely reflect herself in each of her four interviews, she said, and will continue to depend on the support of family and friends as she pushes forward with her responsibilities as a court member.

“I know this is going to be stressful and a lot of work, but I look forward to it,” Jessica said. “I am ready for this challenge. It is going to be an amazing experience.”

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