Elegant program showcases Madison High’s Rose Festival Court

Many say that the assembly program at which this Princess is introduced is among the classiest of them all! And, learn who will represent the Senators during the 2011 Portland Rose Festival …

-1 This composite image shows the members of the Madison High School 2011 Portland Rose Festival Court as they address the student body, and each tell about their inspirations and ambitions. Meet (from left): Umulkher (Uma) Abdullahi, Inanna Hencke, Katie Manwell, Jenna Supplee, Minh-Hao Tran.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Outer East Portland’s crowning of 2011 Portland Rose Festival Princesses continued on March 14 at Madison High School, with an elegant afternoon assembly program.

Each of the five Court members were introduced with a pictorial that showed them with their families and friends, and depicted them involved in school and volunteer activities.

Then, the members of the court walked onstage and addressed the students, staff, and families at the assembly. All of their presentations were thoughtfully written and ably presented. We selected these phrases as being representative of their sentiments:

  • Uma Abdullahi said that, to her, “School isn’t just a place that you go; it’s a place to grow and learn about yourself. At Madison … we are a microcosm of what this world should really look like – all cultures working together in harmony, creating a brighter future. Madison High School produces people like me.”
  • Inanna Hencke told the audience that she started high school as a “wallflower … [who finally] did what she knew to do best – she disappeared.  With the support of teachers, and peers, I found myself doing things that I thought I would never do. Madison has defined the young woman who stands before you today – still an environmentalist, still an artist – now a teacher, a leader, and a Senator through and through.”
  • Katie Manwell said she prides herself on her “drive, compassion, and intelligence. I am enjoying an incredibly challenging course-load, including Advanced Placement classes; my GPA at 4.0; and I will soon receive a Certified Nursing Assistant license. Even through all my ‘extracurriculars’ and studies, I’ve been able to keep my personality intact.”
  • Jenna Supplee said that she’s blossomed by “giving back to my community and to people around me. Volunteering made me a better person – and taught me that any act of kindness can make a difference in the world. I want to continue these actions, and I want to make the schooling community better place, but also to make a difference in the world.”
  • Minh-Hao Tran explained how Madison High “showered me with ethnic and racial diversity from all those from around the world. The student body and the faculty have been academically and athletically supportive, and have been nothing less than a family to me. My mom’s unconditional love is given in the strength that has driven me forward to this day.  She taught me ‘When the going gets tough, never give up – because that which we want in life never comes easy’.”

As a musical interlude, the Madison High full choir performs Dreams of Thee, by Eric Barnum.

With their escorts, Madison High Court members MinhHao Tran, Jenna Supplee, Katie Manwell, Inanna Hencke, and Uma Abdullahi greet the audience.

Both the school’s full and a-cappella choirs performed polished musical interludes. Then, accompanied by their formally-dressed escorts, the court members came through the audience and alighted on the stage. On bended knee, each of the candidates’ escorts presented them with roses.

The 2010 Madison High School Portland Rose Festival Princess, Lindsay Patino, greets her former classmates and staff members.

The school’s outgoing Portland Rose Festival Princess got a warm welcome as she, too, walked down the aisle from the back of the Senators’ Auditorium, and made her way to the stage.

“I’m grateful to be able to come back here,” said Lindsay Patino. “I’m really so grateful and honored to have represented our school at the Portland Rose Festival.”

Members of the schools Portland Rose Festival Court link arms as they await the announcement.

Minh-Hao Tran, Jenna Supplee, Katie Manwell, and Inanna Hencke applaud their new, and obviously surprised, 2011 Madison High School Portland Rose Festival Princess – Uma Abdullahi.

After Princess Uma’s Pacific Power mentor, Dana Conners, was introduced, the audience was invited to attend the Coronation ceremony in June – after which, this program came to a conclusion.

These talented ladies – MinhHao Tran, Jenna Supplee, Katie Manwell, and Inanna Hencke – stand with their school’s 2011 Portland Rose Festival Princess, Umulkher (Uma) Abdullahi, for a formal group portrait.

After the program, the newly-crowned Princess talked about her life, and what led up to this moment.

Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, Princess Uma recalled how her family had immigrated to Portland when she was three years old. “Portland was the first place my dad had ever heard of in the United States. He thought this was a great place to come; I think it was a great decision.” And, although she attended Parkrose Middle School, and was a Parkrose High freshman, “I’m proud to say I’ve truly become a Madison High Senator.”

Remembering the moment when she heard her name announced, Princess Uma’s face lit up as she said, “Honestly, I couldn’t believe it for a second. I kept doubting myself the whole time. I even had my 10-year-old brother gave me a pep talk – that everything was going to be okay. When I heard my name, words can’t describe how I felt. I feel so blessed.”

Welcome outer East Portland’s newest 2011 Portland Rose Festival ambassador – Princess Uma Abdullahi.

Most importantly, about representing her fellow Senators, Princess Uma told East Portland News, “I want to represent all people who are under-represented; all those people who don’t have a voice. I want to be able say, ‘I was once like you, but look at me now! I rose to the occasion. Everyone can do it, if they can put their heart to it.”

Asked about her dress, tears welled up in Princess Uma’s eyes as she said that her mother had purchased it for her. “I couldn’t ask for a better mom; she’s my everything.”

Princess Uma is well-known because of her involvement in the Madison and SUN Leadership groups, and her participation in the “Advancement via Individual Determination” program. She’s an AP scholar, and a member of the school’s student government who has also found time to volunteer with the Multnomah Youth Commission, where she helps create awareness about the importance of education in Portland.

The 18-year-old Madison High senior’s plan is to attend a four-year university and major in International Studies. That goal will be helped by a $3,500 scholarship provided by The Randall Group

Cheer on Princess Uma, and our other outer East Portland 2011 Portland Rose Festival  Princesses, at the Queen’s Coronation inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum on June 11. Tickets are now available from the Portland Rose Festival’s website: CLICK HERE to learn more or purchase tickets online.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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