First outer East Portland Rose Festival Princess named

Take a look, meet this David Douglas High School senior – and learn why she’s pleased to become part of the 2013 Portland Rose Festival …

The student body of David Douglas High School watch as the 2013 Portland Rose Festival “Princess Selection assembly” gets under way.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
David Douglas High School (DDHS) Principal John Bier was looking upbeat, as the 3,000 students in his charge began streaming into the main gymnasium on March 6 – just before the all-school assembly at which first 2013 Portland Rose Festival Princess would be chosen in outer East Portland.

“I always look forward to the Rose Festival,” Bier told East Portland News. “It’s a pretty special time, here at the school. Our participation ‘puts us out there’, giving us the opportunity to highlight a lot of the good things we do.”

Princess candidate Kelsey Milks walks the red carpet with her father, Gregg Milks.

The DDHS Portland Rose Festival Court – Linda Huynh, Gabby Kupfer, Kelsey Milks, and Becky Jo Schuchart – greet their “royal subjects”.

After the singing of the National Anthem, Linda Huynh, Gabby Kupfer, Kelsey Milks, and Becky Jo Schuchart were escorted along the red carpet running from the south side of the gym to the north, continuing up the steps to the stage.

After singling out members of the Portland Rose Festival Foundation staff, and dignitaries, DDHS’ 2012 Portland Rose Festival Princess Maleah Cooper, stepped up to the microphone.

Returning to the school, DDHS 2012 Portland Rose Festival Princess Maleah Cooper tells of her adventures after she became a member of last year’s Rose Festival Court.

“I’m so honored today to come home to crown the next Portland Rose Festival Princess from David Douglas High School,” Cooper began.

“I’ve had wonderful experiences with the Rose Festival,” Cooper continued. “Each of the four girls behind me put in hours of hard work to be where they are, on the stage, right now. Coming this far is a huge achievement for all of them. During high school, these girls put in hours of community service, maintained a high GPA, and a participated in many high school activities.”

Cooper thanked the Rose Festival for what she called her “life-changing experience”, before she presented gifts to the four candidates on stage.

Surprise and delight registers on the face of DDHS senior Kelsey Milks, as she learns she’ll be representing her school.

Princess Kelsey Milks has her tiara pinned on by Maleah Cooper.

“I thank all of my family and my friends, and my teachers, for supporting me,” Princess Kelsey Milks proclaimed. “I also thank these girls for going through this experience with me.”

As gym cleared after the program, Milks said her family took her to the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade as a child. “My favorite aspect of the Rose Festival is watching the girls from Shu-te High School dance in the parade. When I was younger, my family hosted girls from Kaohsiung, Taiwan – and it was always exciting to wake up early to go see them perform in their colorful costumes.”

Princess Kelsey addresses her “royal subjects” as she accepts her newest role – being a Portland Rose Festival Court member, and perhaps even “Queen of Rosaria”.

She developed her evident confidence by participating in DDHS theatrical productions, Milks revealed.

She started in the chorus in the DDHS 2009 production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, and went on to win staring roles – as Bielke in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2011, and as sassy secretary Rosemary Pilkington in the November, 2012, production of the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”.

Princess Kelsey Milks performs as Catherine in the school’s 2013 Spring production of “The Foreigner.

And, Princess Kelsey is playing the temperamental “Catherine” – making her the leading lady in the school’s current production, opening March 8: “The Foreigner”.

“Being able to go on stage and in front of people in front of an audience, it’s provided me with the capability to be able to do this. I’ve also learned how to work with other people – and how to memorize lines!”

About her upcoming duties, Princess Kelsey told East Portland News, “I most look forward to meeting people, traveling as we represent Portland, and giving speeches.”

David Douglas’ 17-year-old Princess Kelsey is on the Honor Roll, was named November Student of the Month, and performs in the Concert Choir.

The talented and lovely DDHS Portland Rose Festival Court Linda Huynh, Gabby Kupfer, and Becky Jo Schuchart gather for a photo with Princess Kelsey Milks.

At least until June, Milks says her busy schedule may make her put aside lifeguarding at the East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center, activities with church youth group, baking, crafts, and hiking.

After she graduates, Milks plans to pursue a degree in business management.

Plan now to cheer Princess Kelsey at the 2013 Portland Rose Festival Queen’s Coronation at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on June 8, just before the start of the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. For more information, see their webpage: CLICK HERE .

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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