David Douglas welcomes its 2015 Rose Festival Princess

Meet Princess Elli Simotas, this year’s representative to the Portland Rose Festival Court. You’ll enjoy seeing her selection announcement program …

Thousands of students fill the David Douglas High School gymnasium to learn who will represent the school during this year’s Portland Rose Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The two-story David Douglas High School (DDHS) gymnasium filled with about 4,000 students, plus more than a hundred staff members, on the morning of March 10. All were eager to learn who would represent “Scot Spirit” at this year’s Portland Rose Festival.

“I look forward to this every year; it is fantastic!” enthused DDHS Principal John Bier, as the audience – larger than the population of many Oregon cities – took a seat. “Our student body really comes together behind this event because it showcases how great our students are! And it is wonderful to be part of the Portland Rose Festival every year.”

About this year’s DDHS Princess Court, Bier said, “I’m confident that any one of our candidates would represent the Scots very well.”

DDHS Portland Rose Festival Princess candidate Elli Simotas is escorted to the stage.

David Douglas Princess candidates Sarah Granberg, Amber Penner, Elli Simotas, and Olivia Stuart are seated as the program begins.

The assembly started off with the introduction of Portland Rose Festival Foundation officials.

Part of the DDHS Princess Introduction program is an entertainment segment featuring the four candidates, in the guise of an on-stage “talent competition”.

David Douglas Princess candidate Amber Penner gets help from her “hive”, singing “The Bumble Bee Song”, as part of the “talent competition”.

Everyone knows it’s all in fun, and does not affect the outcome of the judging – so the crowd laughed, cheered, and applauded the candidates.

Next, the school’s student body leadership dramatically revealed their prom’s theme: Midnight Masquerade.

Portland Rose Festival Court Mentor, Lori Fink of Unitus Community Credit Union, presents gifts to members of the DDHS Rose Festival Princess Court.

2014’s Portland Rose Festival DDHS Princess Samantha Westmoreland tells of her experiences during the past year.

Samantha Westmoreland, the school’s 2014 Portland Rose Festival Princess, took the stage. “I’m really proud that I was able to serve as the Rose Festival Ambassador last year,” Westmoreland smiled. “I’m thankful for every opportunity that I had to be the representative of this high school, and share my Scot’s Pride with everyone in the area.

“The Portland Rose Festival staff and mentors are really committed to help us succeed in society,” commended Westmoreland. “Being on the Rose Festival court taught me many skills that will appreciate all of my life. I also give a huge ‘thank you’ to the Rose Festival Foundation, who has helped us so much.”

This year’s Portland Rose Festival Princess candidates – all highly qualified for the honor – await the announcement.

The school’s outgoing Princess, Samantha Westmoreland, pins the tiara on the head of the 2015 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas Princess, Elli Simotas.

The crowd went silent as the Portland Rose Festival official opened the envelope, and went wild as they learned that Elli Simotas would represent their school

A DDHS senior, 17-year-old 2015 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas Princess Elli Simotas smiled and graciously thanked all for the honor of representing her school.

After the ceremony, Princess Elli spoke with East Portland News, telling about her four years at DDHS.

Candidates Sarah Granberg, Amber Penner, Olivia Stuart pose for a photo with 2015 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas Princess Elli Simotas.

“The best thing about being a Scot is that we have so many different kinds of students here,” Princess Elli said. “Some of us come from low income families; yet, we still have some of the highest graduation rates in the state. This shows how well our staff helps us to push ourselves to be the very best that we can be.

She’s proud to have been Peer Tutor, Princess Elli pointed out. “And, I’ve been involved in the Student Council and I am the Student Body Third Vice President. Being part of the student government is important to me; I’ve met so many people this role, and it has taught me many life lessons.”

Princess Elli said she most looks forward the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade. “It’s a really magical night; all the lights, colorful costumes, and all the people coming out to watch. I love how all the beautiful floats from different groups so well represent Portland’s diversity.”

Congratulations to 2015 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas Princess Elli Simotas.

She plans to study chemistry at Oregon State University, Princess Elli said, then attend Oregon Health Sciences University to pursue a career as an Anesthesiologist. A $3,500 scholarship provided by The Randall Group, valid for any accredited college, university, or trade program, is sure to help her reach her goal.

Plan now to be there – to root for David Douglas Princess Elli Simotas at the Portland Rose Festival Queen’s Coronation, to be held at 8:30 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, just before the start of the 2015 Grand Floral Parade.

For more information, see the Portland Rose Festival Association Foundation’s official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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