Parkrose High’s 2011 Portland Rose Festival Princess crowned

Find out who this young lady is – selected to represent Parkrose Bronco Spirit, before an exuberant crowd of fellow students at this, the second Rose Festival Princess crowning of the new season …

Students and staff at Parkrose High School fill their theater, awaiting the selection of their Portland Rose Festival Princess.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some schools pass off the introduction of their Portland Rose Festival Princess at a low energy, poorly-attended program set on an empty stage.

But Bronco Spirit was so evident, during the March 1 program at Parkrose High School, that our ears are still ringing from the cheering in the packed theater. And Terry Franceschi, Theatre Operations Manager, and his stagecraft students decorated the stage in keeping with the festival’s 2011 theme, “Carnival of Roses”.

2011 Portland Rose Festival Princess candidates for Parkrose High, seniors Eshley Toledo, Kim Nguyen, Taylor Ballard, and Aurora Dan take the stage dressed in stunning gowns.

After the Parkrose High princess candidates were introduced, the Princess’s Pacific Power mentor, Irene Heng, gave each of the young ladies a memento of being selected to the school’s royal court.

Last year’s Parkrose High Princess, Becci Read, told the assembly that she enjoyed representing her school and participating in the many and varied activates afforded to her.

2010’s Parkrose High Princess, Becci Read, honors school staffer Connie Rader.

Instead of focusing on herself, Read turned the spotlight on a school staff member.

“For the last 25 years, one very special lady, Connie Rader, has helped every member of our Parkrose court to prepare for this assembly. She helps the girls with their speeches, orders the roses, decorates the stage, and performs many other tasks. She has devoted countless hours, and given her help to, and loved, each member of our court. Today we would like to recognize and extend our ‘number one Rose Festival lady’.”

After this introduction, and being presented her own bouquet of roses, Connie Rader commented, “It’s been my honor to do this. I raised boys; but every year, I met and adopted these wonderful ladies from Parkrose High School.”

With a hopeful look in her eyes, Rader concluded, “This year, maybe this year, the Portland Rose Festival Queen will come from a Parkrose. Keep your fingers crossed!”

Then, with tiara in hand, Becci Read opened the envelope and announced the name of the 2011 Portland Rose Festival Parkrose High Princess: Taylor Ballard.

As it registers that she’s just heard her name announced, Taylor Ballard looks truly surprised to be selected her school’s representative to the Portland Rose Festival.

Outgoing princess Becci Read places the tiara on the 2011 Portland Rose Festival Parkrose High Princess, Taylor Ballard.

Almost too excited to speak, Princess Taylor Ballard told us why being selected was important to her.

“I just love this community,” Ballard grinned. “I’m so honored to be able to represent our school and everybody in it. I am excited to make more friends. I’ve heard that this is a really great life experience; I am really excited!”

Asked why she applied for the court, Ballard said, “My freshman year, one of my friend’s older sister became a Rose Festival Princess. I saw the pretty dress and I thought that’s what I’d like to do.”

Ruthie White gets a moment to be with her daughter, Princess Taylor Ballard, after the announcement.

After she graduates, the 18-year-old Ballard said she plans to attend the University of Oregon to pursue a career in athletic and personal training – plans now made easier thanks to a $3,500 scholarship provided by property management firm, The Randall Group.

While she enjoys her life-long participation in the Portland Water Spectacular water ski show and being on the dance team, Ballard hasn’t neglected her studies, we learned. She’s been on the Parkrose Bronco Honor Roll for four years, and in the National Honor Society for two years. And she’s received a Science/Biology award and the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.

“As I go on to college I look forward to setting new goals. And, I look forward to keeping in touch with my friends, as I explore my future.”

Introducing Parkrose High School’s 2011 Portland Rose Festival Princess Taylor Ballard.

Plan now to cheer on Princess Taylor Ballard at the 2011 Portland Rose Festival Coronation, on June 11 at Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum. For more information about Portland Rose Festival, see the official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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