By Carla Pineda
A girl’s childhood dream of becoming a queen was achieved by a
Pasadena area high-school student.
“Ten years ago my babysitter was Rose Queen, so growing up, I
had always looked up to her (…) I never thought I would actually
be the Rose Queen,” said Tournament of Roses Royal Court Queen Mary
Cal Poly’s Rose Float Club hosted the Tournament of Roses Queen
and Court at a luncheon at Kellogg West Restaurant on Thursday.
Each of the seven ladies sat at different tables to encourage
interaction between the court and Cal Poly staff, students and
After an address from President J. Michael Ortiz, and Rose Float
Club President Jennifer Woo, the queen and princesses were
individually introduced and given a chance to speak to the crowd
that included Betty Ortiz, coordinators of the Cultural Student
Centers, and Associated Students, Incorporated Vice President
For 59 years the Cal Poly Universities – Pomona and San Luis
Obispo – have collaborated on designing and constructing a rose
float. This year’s design is titled Arctic Antics and it features
polar bears and penguins wearing Polynesian attire to represent an
arctic luau theme.
“I love your float and I’m glad that I get to celebrate it with
you here today,” said McCluggage.
The court and attendees were treated to a presentation by a
Polynesian dance team who gracefully performed several pieces. Prim
and proper dancing accompanied the first few songs but the upbeat,
grassy skirt finale was “phenomenal,” according to Ortiz.
The court is comprised of seven Pasadena area young women who
are chosen from a pool of more than 1,100 contestants based on
their public speaking skills, poise, academic achievement and
The selection process of the queen and court is a series of
interviews starting with a 15-second time slot. In this allotted
time, the contestants have to grab the judges’ attention. With each
callback, they are given more time to display their charisma in
hopes of being chosen as one of the seven ladies to represent the
Tournament of Roses.
“The interviews are very hard and very long so it’s very scary,”
said McCluggage. “Standing on that red X in the interview room was
really scary at the time.”
Ortiz was impressed by the Royal Court.
“When you take the number of applications that we have and you
whittle it down to seven people, if you take these seven people
(the queen and her court) you would get the cream of the crop,”
Vail notes a special bond between the court members.
“From the day we announced the selection of the seven, there was
a kind of thread that was woven – a friendship among the seven –
and they instantly became best friends,” said Vail.
This year’s court is comprised of: Queen Mary McCluggage,
Christina Barsamian, Aneesa Giroux, Sue Park, Blair Ramirez,
Terpstra-Sweeney , Danielle Vine. All members are 17 years old
except for Park who is 16 and Terpstra-Sweeney who is 18 and the
only high school graduate of the group now enrolled at Pasadena
Court members are all enrolled in classes and are pulled away
from their regular schedules to attend events.
Ramirez is the fifth court member from her school in five
“It’s hard (to balance school with Royal Court events) but all
the teachers are very understanding and they love it when girls are
on the court,” said Ramirez.
Vail has offered her assistance to the Tournament for 19 years.
This is her first year working on the Queen and Court
Volunteers are entered into a biennial rotation of the 30
committees in order to give them a chance to participate in many
aspects of the Tournament.
An annual $100 fee is required from each committee member.
“We pay for the honor to volunteer,” said Vail.
Vail remembers when the the floats were transported from the
float barn in Azusa to Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. They
would begin their quest at about 5 p.m. and they would arrive at
the judging site at about 3 a.m. because the floats were already
decorated so their max speed would be 10 miles per hour to keep as
much of decorations in place. The floats are now transported to
decoration sites in Pasadena on Dec. 16 to eliminate the
time-consuming and nerve-wrecking process.
Jeremiah Telado, sixth-year mechanical engineering student and
Rose Float club committee chairman, thought the event was
“The queen and court seemed like a very nice bunch and it was
very much of pleasure to have them come down (to Cal Poly),” said
Ronald Simons closed the luncheon by thanking outside
“This project is certainly a student project but truth be known,
there’s a lot of other people involved. There are a lot of hidden
angels out there that are trying to back up the program,”
Carla Pineda can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or
by phone at (909) 869-3744.
Rose Float Club Hosts Royal Court
Show Comments (0)