Rose Festival princess announced at David Douglas High School

HIGHLIGHT VIDEO INCLUDED | Meet this outer East Portland Rose Festival 2023 Princess, Nikkie Hernandez …

he David Douglas High gym is filled with students and staff for the school’s 2023 Portland Rose Festival Princess selection announcement.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For decades, the students, teachers, and staff of David Douglas High School (DDHS) each year learned who’d represent “Scot Pride” at the Portland Rose Festival in a mid-March all-school assembly, where everyone turned up to cheer on their ambassador.

However, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement was a small affair, held in the Horner Performing Arts Auditorium.

All-school assembly returns
So, it seemed that everyone in the school was looking forward, the morning assembly on March 14 that included the 2023 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess selection announcement.

Ready for another great assembly is DDHS Principal Greg Carradine.

As the DDHS North Gymnasium was filling with most of its 4,000 students, DDHS Principal Greg Carradine was all smiles. “This year, as in past years, we have exceptionally highly-qualified candidates to represent our school,” he told East Portland News.

“Each of these three students have enthusiastically participated in our school’s activities, and have set a good example,” Carradine commended “They all demonstrate the ‘Scot’s Way’, which includes assisting younger students, making sure things are going well here at the school, and welcoming everyone that comes into our building.”

Captain Lyari, and dancers Katie and Lilly of t he Scottish Tams Dance Team, perform a Hip-Hop routine.

After the National Anthem, the assembly’s MCs played a game of “Heads or Tails” to warm up the crowd, before moving on. They recognized their athletic teams, some of whom placed well in state championships. And they also honored the school’s performing arts band, orchestra, and theater – and talked up the current school show, “Midsummer/Jersey”.

As been their practice in years past, next was the announcement of the theme of the 2023 DDHS prom.

Scot’s Angels faculty sponsor Brad Joy presents a fundraising check to Wesley Strobel.

Then, Scot’s Angels faculty sponsor, DDHS Athletic Director Brad Joy, introduced some of the past years celebrants, who are not publicly recognized in past years during the COVID pandemic. He then presented a $20,000 check to this year’s recipient, Wesley Strobel, and his family, to help with his medical expenses.

Watch highlights of the Portland Rose Festival DDHS Princess Announcement segment:

Even with the other timely and exciting announcements during this assembly, everyone was eagerly awaiting to learn who was chosen to represent David Douglas High School during the 2023 Portland Rose Festival — and perhaps go on to be chosen Queen of Rosaria.

Greeting the assembly is Portland Rose Festival Foundation Director “The” Amy Johnson.

Leading off the segment, Amy Johnson, a Portland Rose Festival Foundation Director and a 1996 DDHS Portland Rose Festival Princess, welcomed everyone to the announcement part of the ceremony.

“I remember when I was standing up on this stage, in this gym, 27 years ago – when my fellow classmates elected me a Portland Rose Festival Princess,” Johnson recalled. “But turning to today, the theme of the 2023 Portland Rose Festival is ‘Focused on Fun’. In just a few minutes, one of these amazing young women will be your Rose Festival Princess for David Douglas High School this year.”

DDHS Princess candidates Anamitra Preuitt, Guadalupe De La Merced Nunez, and Nikkie Hernandez listen as the announcement program begins.

Johnson introduced guests, including dignitaries from the Portland Rose Festival Foundation and the Royal Rosarians.

Giving each DDHS Princess candidate a memento is Unitus Community Credit Union Mentor Edina Rizvic.

2022 Princess Awek speaks
Because her selection announcement was only in front of family and friends last year, during this year’s assembly everyone stood, cheered, and welcomed 2022 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess Awek De Piok to the stage.

Last year’s David Douglas High School Rose Festival Princess Awek De Piok speaks at the assembly.

“I haven’t been in a room with this many people gathered in it for a long time,” Princess Awek began. “I want to congratulate you three young women for making it this far in the process. It is very hectic and is very stressful, I know. I really hope that you all know you are so brave to keep going forward.

“My time with the Festival was really short, in my eyes. But there were a lot of great moments. I would encourage you not to burn out,” Princess Awek continued. For the Princess about to be named, she advised, “Just know that this is one of the best moments in your life! Take time to take care of yourself, and enjoy this year.”

Nikkie Hernandez realizes she’s the one selected as the 2023 Princess representing her school.

Amy Johnson stepped to the microphone with the envelope in hand: “And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The 2023 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess is – Nikki Hernandez!”

2023 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess Nikkie Hernandez receives her tiara from outgoing Princess Awek De Piok.

After receiving her coronet, Princess Nikkie addresses the school.

Taking the microphone, Princess Nikkie said, “Thank you to those who supported me. I’m so grateful for my family being there for me and believing in me, and encouraging me to go this far. To my other candidates I wish you also all the best.”

Flanked by her court, Anamitra Preuitt, and Guadalupe De La Merced Nunez, Princess Nikkie Hernandez poses for a formal photo.

After official photos were taken, DDHS senior Princess Nikkie told East Portland News that she was truly from outer East Portland, having attended Menlo Park Elementary and Floyd Light Middle School before coming to David Douglas High.

Asked what was most important about this day to her, she responded, “The most important thing about being selected to represent my school during the Portland Rose Festival is, as a young woman of color, is being able to represent my community; I want to inspire girls who are also of color in the community.

“To me, being a ‘good Scot’ means being involved as much as you can, and support your community, for sure,” concluded Princess Nikkie.

Her future educational goals – attending Portland State University and attaining her Bachelor’s degree in nursing, to become a Labor and Delivery nurse – will be aided by a $3,500 scholarship provided by The Randall Group.

Congratulations to 2023 Portland Rose Festival David Douglas High School Princess Nikkie Hernandez.

You’re invited to cheer on Princess Nikkie at the Queen’s Coronation on June 9 at 11 a.m. in the Oregon Plaza at NE 8th Avenue and Holladay Street. For more information about the Portland Rose Festival, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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