David Douglas High’s Rose Fest Princess revealed in live ceremony

This school’s staff took extraordinary steps to make sure the outer East Portland Rose Festival Princess candidates could experience the announcement, live. See it, with lots of exclusive photos, here …

-1 In the Hazelwood neighborhood, the stage is set sparsely at the 2021 David Douglas High School 2021 Portland Rose Festival Princess selection announcement’s live program.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With a decades-old tradition of announcing the David Douglas High School (DDHS) candidates, and naming their Princess selection to the Portland Rose Festival, at an all-school assembly – each year featuring music, dancing, awards, and 4,000 cheering students and staff – this year’s ceremony was certainly a bit different.

On April 2, under COVID-19 pandemic regulations, only 17 socially-distanced people – including the candidates, school staffers, and Portland Rose Festival Foundation (PRFF) representatives – were allowed to enter the cavernous Horner Performing Arts Center; and then, only after a health check-in screening.

Attending his last such program: DDHS Principal John Bier.

Waiting for the program to begin, DDHS Principal John Bier sat in mid-auditorium. He commented that he felt a tinge of melancholy at not being part one last major all-school assembly before he retires at the end of the school year, after being Principal for 13 years. “But, being here today, and watching it, will be a lot of fun for me!

“It’s been kind of an interesting year here,” Bier remarked after a while. “In David Douglas fashion, we are doing things ‘first-rate’ for our Rose Festival Princess candidates – thanks to our Activities Director Amber Cowgill, who put it together.

“I’m glad that we’re still participating in this long-time Portland tradition; it’s nice to see it still rolling along, even under the current conditions,” Bier told East Portland News.

Due to the stress on students by the pandemic, the DDHS had only two candidates this year, instead of four as in years past. “Either of these young ladies would make an outstanding representative for our school,” observed Bier.

Hosting the program is DDHS junior, and ASB Treasurer, Taj O’Malley.

DDHS seniors, and Portland Rose Festival Princess candidates, Christina Bouwman and Jennifer Dinh take the stage after being introduced.

Former David Douglas High Portland Rose Festival Princess, “a proud David Douglas graduate”, PRFF Director Amy Johnson introduces the dignitaries present at the ceremony.

Unitus Community Credit Union Mentor Lori Williams tells how she’ll help this year’s Princess.

Before announcing this year’s selection, 2020 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess Michelle Le gives thanks to the PRFF, her school, and family.

Then, David Douglas High School’s reigning 2020 Portland Rose Festival Princess, Michelle Le, stepped to the microphone. “I would just like to say that I was so pleased to part of the Rose Festival.

“And, I am extremely grateful to be here today,” Lee smiled. “Although I didn’t get the opportunity to participate in many public activities, as others have in past years, I’m sure that our new DDHS Princess will have a wonderful time. Thank you all for making this opportunity possible for me!”

Then, Princess Lee walked over to the candidates for the “reveal” – and congratulated David Douglas High School’s 2021 Portland Rose Festival Princess, Jennifer Dinh.

Outgoing Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess Michelle Le places the tiara on the head 2021 DDHS Princess Jennifer Dinh.

Looks forward to representing outer East Portland
After being congratulated, and while awaiting the official photos to be taken, Princess Jennifer spoke with us. “I went to Earl Boyles Elementary School and Ron Russell Middle School; so, yes, I’m really a ‘local’ neighbor.

“It’s important for me to represent the Scots well, because I want to give back to my school,” Princess Jennifer told East Portland News. “Being here at DDHS has helped me gain a lot of experience, through all of the school’s programs and extracurricular activities and classes here; and I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from my peers and instructors.”

One of those activities she has participated in has been part of the school district’s music program for more than seven years – as a violinist, revealed Princess Jennifer. “I was a member of the orchestra for my school’s musical productions such as Thoroughly Modern Millie and Holiday Inn. The other after-school activities I am involved in are the National Honors Society and College Possible.”

Congratulations, to David Douglas High School Princess Jennifer Dinh, who says she is ready to take on the challenge of representing The Scots at the 2021 Portland Rose Festival.

“It’s been an odd year, but I look forward to doing something that I’ve never done before – making being here, right now, an amazing experience; because I’ve never done something so much out of my ‘comfort zone’ before,” Princess Jennifer remarked. “I’m really excited about doing something new, and learning new things.

“I’m glad I took the risk to be here,” Princess Jennifer continued. “To those students considering this next year, I’d advice going into it with the mindset of neither winning or losing; but instead just doing it for the experience – it’s well worthwhile.”

The daughter of Le Nguyen and Ricky Dinh, Princess Jennifer said she plans to attend a four-year university directly after high school, and eventually to attend graduate school in pursuit of a psychology-related career.

Her educational efforts will be enhanced, as it will for each selected member of the 2021 Rose Festival Court, with a $3,500 scholarship grant from The Randall Group.

The 2021 Portland Rose Festival Queen will be crowned the Queen of Rosaria at the Queen’s Coronation, in the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park, now slated to be held at 10:00 a.m. on June 18.

To find out more about the 2021 Portland Rose Festival, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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