David Douglas High Princess selection kicks off 2012 Portland Rose Festival in outer East Portland

The first 2012 Portland Rose Festival Ambassador is announced at David Douglas High School! Read this, and you’ll learn who she is – as you enjoy exclusive photos of this special school assembly …

Students at David Douglas High stand and cheer for their 2012 Portland Rose Festival Princess candidates.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
David Douglas High School (DDHS) Principal John Bier watched as almost all of the school’s 3,000 students filed into the North Gym for a very special assembly the afternoon of March 7.

“I love the Portland Rose Festival,” Bier smiled. “Our four candidates to be our school’s ambassador – any one of them would represent the school very well. They are superb students and great young people.”

While she doesn’t know it at this time, while walking toward the stage on the red carpet, Maleah Cooper is about to discover she’ll be representing her school in the 2012 Portland Rose Festival Court.

Then, with music playing as their biographies were read, Dominikka McAllister-Moran, Maleah Cooper, Melissa Brasch, and Vanessa Harris strolled – one by one – through the gym, to the deafening cheers of their fellow students.

Once the candidates were onstage and seated, Portland Rose Festival Director Amy Johnson remarked, “It was my privilege to represent you in 1996, as your Portland Rose Festival Princess. I am so excited to back here with you today! In just a few minutes, one of these women will become the David Douglas High Rose Festival Princess for 2012.”

Although already selected, the name of the DDHS Princess remained sealed in an envelope, while the candidates were each asked to act out the answer to a question…

Dominikka McAllister-Moran shows her best “dance move”.

Vanessa Harris demonstrates her unique talent – being able to lick her elbow.

Melissa Brasch says she’s idolized singer, songwriter, musician, and actress Demi Lovato – and quotes from memory the star’s former address. “But, OK, I’m not a stalker”, she says.

Maleah Cooper says she loves to sing, and croons a few bars of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E”.

2011 DDHS Princess Cassie Hammond returned to her school for the event, and stepped up to the stage to address the candidates and audience members.

Princess candidate Vanessa Harris accepts a gift from 2011 DDHS Princess Cassie Hammond, who presents a gift to each of the Princess candidates.

“I thank all of you who voted for me last year,” Hammond said. “It was one of the most amazing experiences I ever got to experience. And now I have a little gift to give to each of you.”

After that presentation came the introduction of the DDHS Portland Rose Festival 2012 Princess – Maleah Cooper.

Maleah Cooper looks surprised as she hears her name announced.

With the students in the bleachers providing a thunderous drum roll, Maleah Cooper learned she’d be the one representing her school at the more-than-120 functions of the 2012 Portland Rose Festival, and will be vying to be dubbed “Queen of Rosaria” on June 9 in Memorial Coliseum, just before the start of the Grand Floral Parade.

Making her first public appearance is the 2012 David Douglas High School Portland Rose Festival Princess – Maleah Cooper.

“I never imagined I’d be standing here,” Princess Maleah said. “I thank everyone at my school – my peers have treated me awesome for the last four years. I thank the teachers, the staff, the parents, and my crazy friends who stuck by me by this whole thing. And, I thank the Portland Rose Festival Foundation for providing this awesome program.”

Members of the David Douglas High Portland Rose Festival court – Dominikka McAllister-Moran, Melissa Brasch, and Vanessa Harris – congratulate Princess Maleah Cooper.

After the taking of formal photos, Princess Maleah told East Portland News, “This means the world to me. I never imagined I’d be standing here today. These were all great candidates there with me. The feeling I have right now is so hard to describe; it’s amazing. I do feel I will be able to represent my school well.”

Saying she’s grown up attending Portland Rose Festival events, 18-year-old Princess Maleah commented that she really enjoys the parades. “Of all of them, I most look forward to the Starlight Parade.”

Asked about other events, she added, “And I’ll be attending the Queens Coronation for the first time this year – and, as a candidate!”

2012 David Douglas High School Portland Rose Festival Princess Maleah’s school activities include the Concert Choir, Troubadors, and Choir President for 2011-2012. Her hobbies include drawing, painting, making jewelry, calligraphy, fishing, four-wheeling, going to the beach, working out, and singing.

Asked about her plans for the future, Princess Maleah’s said she plans on becoming either an art teacher, a graphic designer, or a graphic design teacher.

To learn about the wide variety of activities held in connection with each year’s Portland Rose Festival, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to 2012 David Douglas High School Portland Rose Festival Princess Maleah Cooper.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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