By: Monica Carazo |LAUSD Journal | http://bit.ly/s9Bpxx
October 17, 2011 - On a cold, crisp recent morning in Pasadena, seven young ladies stood poised on a stage decorated with urns of red roses, their lives about to change forever.
In front of the historic Tournament House, these Tournament of Rose Princesses sported salon-perfect hair, identical sheath dresses and sparkling smiles, waiting for THE announcement of the 94th Rose Queen.
For Sarah Zuno, a senior at Benjamin Franklin High School in the LAUSD, she was already a winner. She is the first ever LAUSD coed to serve on the Tournament of Roses’ coveted Royal Court.
Although Drew Washington was named the 2012 Rose Queen, Sarah is already reigning supreme throughout the District with this historic appointment. The newly selected Royal Court will reign for an entire year. As ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses she and the other members of the Court will attend more than 150 community and media functions leading up to the 123rd Rose Parade and 98th Rose Bowl Game on Monday, January 2, 2012.
“This whole experience has been amazing,” beamed Bertha Zuno, Sarah’s mother.
In support of this momentous occasion, Sarah’s classmates recently hosted a royal rally in her honor. Her regal send off was complete with Franklin High School’s Mighty Panthers band, the school’s cheerleaders, and screaming cheers of good luck and well wishes.
Sarah, who lives in Los Angeles, possesses a resume worthy of any royal court. She plays on her school’s varsity basketball team and the softball team. She is a fluent Spanish speaker, a student mentor and the school’s Glee Club co-president. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, singing, playing the piano and reading. She plans to study communications, journalism or English literature in college, and possibly pursue a career in corporate law.
(left) Sarah Zuno, 17, with Rose Queen, Drew Washington, 16, from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (center) and the rest of the 2012 Tournament of Roses Royal Court.
“This organization has been wonderful and so well organized,” added Alex Zuno, Sarah’s father.
The announcement on October 18 follows a month-long process in which approximately 1,000 Pasadena-area young women participated. The lucky seven were whittled down from 34 finalists. Selections were based on a range of qualities including public speaking, ability, poise, academic achievement, community involvement and personality.
Historically, the boundaries for the selection of Rose Queen and her court have been limited to the exclusive communities of San Marino and Pasadena. However, a representative in the Tournament of Roses Association executive committee wrote a proposal to include Highland Park. This year, for the first time, the committee voted in favor of extending the application process to include schools in Highland Park. Benjamin Franklin High School sits in the heart of the Highland Park community.
On her way to the Royal Court, Sarah learned about the noble process for Rose Queen during a school visit from the 2011 Rose Queen Evanne Friedmann and a Rose Princess in mid September with a presentation about the Tournament of Roses Royal Court try outs.
Mrs. Zuno shared that Sarah was always” very confident.” “I can do this,” Sarah told her mom.
“We could not be more proud of the seven young ladies that will be representing the Tournament of Roses as the 2012 Royal Court, “ said Amy Wainscott, Chair of the Queen and Court Committee. “They are outstanding role models and will be wonderful ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses.
As part of their ceremonial ensemble, the seven young ladies of the Royal Court each received a pearl necklace from Mikimoto, provider of the stately crowns and tiaras. The six princesses will also be fitted for their formal gowns, which will be unveiled at the coronation ceremony scheduled October 27 at the Pasadena Convention Center.
“Her father and I are so proud of her.” She is the first to represent the District and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The school staff, her principal, teachers and her friends have been so supportive and accommodating,” said Mrs. Zuno.
After THE announcement was made, the Rose Queen was surrounded by her court of princesses, smiling and waving before their families and friends. The sun peeked through the clouds, and yes, the roses were blooming.
Sarah’s princess duties had begun.