Many San Marino Rotarians spent the first half of last Thursday in the company of royalty—Tournament of Roses royalty.
The Rotary Club of San Marino first hosted a breakfast at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens with the Queen and Royal Court for students from Longfellow Elementary in Pasadena and Fourth Street Elementary in East LA.
“We had about 100 students that came into the gardens and they go from station to station learning all about botany, flowers and seeds, and just what they do at Huntington Gardens,” San Marino Rotary President Gilda Moshir said. “Jim Folsom, if you have not seen his presentation, he is unbelievable.”
Moshir said this year Huntington President Laura Trombley visited with the students, as well. The queen and princesses then enjoyed lunch and spoke at San Marino Rotary’s regular weekly luncheon on Nov. 10.
Rose Queen Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos
Tori is a 17-year-old senior at Temple City High School.
“I am part of my school’s varsity-level show choir called the Brighter Side Singers that are a unique group that goes around the community performing and bringing everyone together through song and dance,” she said.
Tori has also appeared in five of her high school’s musicals.
She volunteers at the Pasadena Humane Society for a program called, The Toy Bucket Volunteers.
“This is where we go into the kennels and play with the dogs, giving them human interaction and love,” Tori said.
She continued, “I am also a volunteer at the American Legion as I am the daughter of an Army veteran and the sister of an Airman and an Army Sergeant.”
Tori also volunteers at Zooh Corner at Petco.
Her hobbies include writing short stories, painting, reading, thrift shopping with her mother and collecting antiques.
She said she aspires to become a performer and attend Amherst College.
“On behalf of the Royal Court, thank you so much for having us today,” Tori said. “It is a great honor to be standing in front of people who truly make a difference in the community.”
Rose Princess Autumn Marie Lundy
Autumn, of Altadena, is a 17-year-old senior at Polytechnic School in Pasadena. She’s the co-president of her school’s Black Student Union and is its student ambassador.
“I’m also a member of Soccer Without Borders, which is an organization that works to use soccer as an outlet for underprivileged youth,” Autumn said.
She’s a captain and four-year starter on Polytechnic School’s varsity soccer team.
Autumn also belongs to Girls Service League, which she explains, “is an organization at my school that works to serve girls throughout the community.”
Outside of school, Autumn volunteers at Reading Partners and works at Washington Elementary in Pasadena.
“I work with kids in kindergarten through second grade who are academically behind in their reading, writing and comprehension,” Autumn said. “I also tutor and mentor kids as well as work in the Athletics Department Program at Villa Park Community Center in Pasadena.”
She said she hopes to study medicine and ultimately become a clinical nurse practitioner and open up her own practice.
Autumn said she wouldn’t be where she is in life—including a princess which has always been a dream of hers—without the support and help of her friends, family, teachers and even the people who she just met that have helped her.
Rose Princess Audrey Mariam Cameron
Audrey, 17, of Pasadena, is a senior at Blair High School.
“As a member of the Blair track & field team, I used to run down Orange Grove Boulevard past the Tournament House and I’d always imagine what it would feel like to line up with hundreds of other amazing young women and try out for a spot on the Royal Court,” she said. “Little did I know I would be standing before you here today. It’s such an incredible honor and I’m so grateful for that.”
Audrey runs cross-country and is the co-captain of Blair’s varsity track team. She also is the Associated Student Body Sports Commissioner and the PTSA Board athletic liaison.
“I’m also really invested in music,” Audrey said. “I’m a member of the Lake Avenue Community Orchestra and I’ve played the violin for nine years at the Colburn School of Music.”
Audrey volunteers in the Students with a Mentor program and the International Baccalaureate Mentor program.
She would like to pursue a career in medicine and is very interested in science and obstetrics.
Audrey said her sister received a scholarship from Rotary to study music and that was very important to her family. She also thanked Rotary for the work it does in the community.
Rose Princess Lauren “Emi” Emiko Powers
Emi is a 17-year-old senior at Arcadia High School.
“A lot of girls on the court are very athletic,” she said. “Although I might not be the most athletic girl here, I do have a sport of my own: smiling and making others smile.”
Emi said one of the ways she does this is by volunteering in the ICU at Methodist Hospital of Southern California where she speaks with the patients “to make their day a little bit brighter.”
“I do this by sharing stories with them or having them share stories with me,” she said. “When I walk out at the end of the day and see a smile on their face, I know I’ve made an impact on their day.”
Emi has been a Girl Scout since she was in kindergarten and she’s now working on obtaining her Gold Award.
“I have created a curriculum for second-graders at Washington Elementary School in Montebello, where I’m teaching Spanish-speakers the English language,” she said. “So it’s been a real treat to watch these kids grow over the years.”
Emi plays the Taiko drums, which are large Japanese drums, around the community and at the Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles.
She hopes to attend Syracuse University to major in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Public Relations.
“My dream job would ultimately be to sit next to Matt Lauer on ‘The Today Show,’” Emi said.
Rose Princess Maya Kawaguchi Khan
Maya also is a 17-year-old senior at Arcadia High School.
“I’m half Japanese and half Pakistani,” she said. “My mother is from Japan and she’s Buddhist. My father is from London and he’s Muslim and I somehow ended up Lutheran.”
During her freshman year, Maya began leading Bible study.
“My love for teaching the kids at my church after school on Wednesdays led me to also try to teach elsewhere,” she said, explaining that she soon started coaching her little brother’s basketball team at Arcadia Recreation and Community Services.
Maya also volunteers at Union Station Homeless Shelter serving its clients.
She is a student producer at her high school’s online news channel, Apache News.
Maya’s hobbies include going to the gym, watching movies and trying new foods.
Maya said she’d like to become a nurse at a military hospital to serve people who have served the United States. She wants to attend Cal State Fullerton.
Rose Princess Shannon Tracy Larsuel
Shannon, 17, of Altadena, is a senior at Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, where she’s a member of the National Honor Society, Diversity Committee, Theater Conservatory and co-heads the Environmental Club.
Shannon said she loves to volunteer outside of school, including being a candy striper at Huntington Memorial Hospital’s Pediatric Unit, helping to prepare meals for families at Union Station Family Center and as a camp counselor at a horseback-riding camp for children.
She also volunteers with Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Pasadena Chapter Group V, where she is teen vice president. During this past summer, she was an intern at The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Research.
She said she’d like to attend Yale University and go to medical school to become a pediatric oncologist.
“I’d love to combine my passion for medicine and helping people through medicine,” Shannon said.
Rose Princess Natalie Rose Petrosian
Natalie is a 17-year-old senior at La Cañada High School. She is part of the JPL Space Academy, Link Crew, Future Problem Solvers Club, the 20% Time Project, girls’ varsity tennis team and the California Athletic Trainer’s Association Sports Medicine competition.
Natalie volunteers with Rescue Train, which is an animal rescue organization in Studio City.
Her hobbies include dancing, listening to music, watching sports and writing software programs.
Natalie hopes to the attend California Institute of Technology to major in Computer Science and minor in Political Science.
Moshir said the group had impressive credentials.
“I really enjoyed getting to know your backgrounds,” she said. “Thank you for sharing.”
The San Marino Rotary audience was able to ask the Royal Court questions after their speeches. Tony Chou chaired San Marino Rotary’s Rose Court program this year.
The seven young women who are members of the Royal Court were chosen from 34 finalists narrowed down from approximately 1,000 applicants for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. They are asked to make nearly 100 community and media events, acting as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses. The court’s reign will end on Jan. 2, 2017 at the 128th annual Rose Parade and the 103rd Rose Bowl game. San Marino’s Dave Link will chair the Queen & Court Committee in 2018.