Parkrose’s Rose Festival Princess debuts

See who was selected to represent ‘Bronco Spirit’ from Parkrose High School, and why she looks forward to her new role …

Meet the candidates for 2012 Portland Rose Festival Parkrose Princess: Bre’Shay Barnes, Emma Brent, Laura Denning, and Carlea Sundin.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Excitement was running high on March 23 as Parkrose High School (PHS) students crowded into their theater, eager to learn which candidate would be chosen to represent the school for the 2012 Portland Rose Festival

Just before the 2:30 p.m. assembly began, Principal Ana Gonzalez talked with East Portland News.

An enthusiastic throng watches in the PHS Theater, as the Princess announcement assembly begins.

“This is very exciting,” Gonzalez said. “We have four very strong candidates; each is doing well academically, each made it through the interview process, and each spoke before our students.”

Academics are important, Gonzalez emphasized, “Because our Princess will be leaving school in May to participate in the Rose Festival activities.”

2011’s Parkrose Rose Festival Princess, Taylor Ballard, greets the audience and the 2012 candidates.

After Portland Rose Festival Foundation dignitaries were introduced, the 2011 Parkrose Rose Festival Princess, Taylor Ballard, stepped up to the podium.

“Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” Ballard smiled. “It is with great pleasure, as your 2011 Princess, that I now pass down my crown and my role as Parkrose High School Princess and representatives from the Parkrose area. I know this year’s Princess will fill the role with grace, beauty, and confidence.”

Ballard paused, before continuing, “Your 2012 Rose Festival Princess is –Bre’Shay Barnes!”

Bre’Shay Barnes hears her name announced as the 2012 Portland Rose Festival Parkrose Princess.

Exuberant Bronco spirit erupted in the auditorium as Princess Bre’Shay Barnes overcame the surprise of hearing her name read, and regained her composure as her court congratulated her.

Taylor Ballard pins a tiara on Parkrose High’s representative to the Portland Rose Festival, Princess Bre’Shay Barnes.

Princess Bre’Shay Barnes then turned to address the audience: “I thank the students of Parkrose High School for giving me this chance.”

She continued, thanking her friends, supporters and mentors – but was pretty much drowned out by Bronco spirit cheers and applause.

Princess Bre’Shay greets her “subjects”.

After the assembly concluded, and the cameras finished snapping photos, Princess Bre’Shay Barnes told East Portland News, “This is an amazing feeling – like I accomplished my biggest dream. I wanted to become a Rose Festival Princess, and I’ve done that! I’m very excited!”

Asked what or who contributed most to her reaching this goal, 17-year-old PHS senior Princess Bre’Shay said, “It’s my mentors who have brought me to this point.”

She said an inspiration to her had been her uncle, Robert Ingram, who passed away in November of 2011. “For years, he’s been an ‘everyday hero’ to me, working with at-risk youth since 1991.”

Princess Bre’Shay Barnes is surrounded by members of her court – Emma Brent, Laura Denning, and Carlea Sundin.

Although her past participation in the Portland Rose Festival has been limited primarily to attending parades, Princess Bre’Shay said she was looking forward to discovering the wide variety of activities. “It’s all going to be a really fun and new experience. I’m looking forward to meeting the other girls on the court, and to building new relationships with everyone.”

Most of all, Princess Bre’Shay said, she’s looking forward to the 2012 Portland Rose Festival Coronation, because this program “promotes self-esteem, determination, and courage. Seeing young women make a difference in this city and demonstrating what it takes to be a positive role model, is what I aspire to.”

Princess Bre’Shay plans to study for a Bachelors of Science degree in Sport Medicine at Prairie View A&M University near Houston, Texas – an educational plan now made easier by a $3,500 scholarship provided by property management firm The Randall Group.

Congratulations to 2012 Portland Rose Festival Parkrose Princess Bre’Shay Barnes

An Honor Roll student, Princess Bre’Shay participated in the PHS Varsity Dance Team and Black Student Union; she is an Advance Via Individual Determination member, and is a co-leader of Advance Leadership program. She attended John Roberts Power Acting and Modeling Agency, she takes Tae Kwon Do, and she is involved in a leadership class at Police Activity Lead Center for anti-gang prevention, among other after-school activities.

Parkrose folks are already planning to attend the 2012 Portland Rose Festival Queen Coronation on June 9 at 8:30 a.m. in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, before the Grand Floral Parade.

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

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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