The Tournament of Roses Presdient Gerald Freeny named Louise Deser Siskel as the 101st Rose Queen.
Rose Queen and Royal Court were selected based upon a combination of qualities, including public speaking ability, academic achievement, youth leadership, and community and school involvement.
Queen Louise is a senior at Sequoyah High School and lives in San Marino. She is currently a member of the Debate Team, the Judicial Committee at Sequoyah High School, and YMCA Youth and Government. Her research in space biology has been funded by NASA Ames, and she is currently conducting breast cancer research at Charles Drew University. Louise enjoys reading, playing board games with her family, traveling, and laughing with friends. She plans to study cellular and molecular biology and would like to attend Johns Hopkins University, The University of Chicago, or Tufts University. Louise is the daughter of Charlie Siskel and Abigail Deser; she has one brother, Simon
“For me, ‘The Melody of Life’ is standing at the lab bench at 7 a.m., singing along to show tunes,” she said. “It is classical music when I’m writing and 2000s hits when I’m nervous. I belt out Cole Porter verses with my grandfather and ABBA anthems with my friends. Music has an astounding capacity to bring people together and has always been an integral part of my favorite traditions and most treasured memories. Music makes the world a more forgiving and more joyful place.”Porter verses with my grandfather and ABBA anthems with my friends. Music has an astounding capacity to bring people together and has always been an integral part of my favorite traditions and most treasured memories. Music makes the world a more forgiving and more joyful place.”
The six members of the 2019 Royal Court are (in alphabetical order):
Lauren Michele Baydaline is a senior at Westridge School and lives in South Pasadena. She is currently secretary of the Associated Student Body, founder and head of Every Body Affinity, head of book club, third year Peer to Peer, a volunteer in Reading Rocks program at Hillsides, and a camp counselor at YMCA Glendale. Lauren enjoys reading, writing poetry, and spending time with friends and family. She plans to study biology, linguistics, and Latin and would like to attend Boston College, Duke University, Emory University, Tulane University, University of Richmond, or Villanova University. Lauren is the daughter of Nick and Selena Baydaline; she has one brother, Christian.
“Personally, ‘Melody of Life’ means the pace at which life flows. Life is an unpredictable symphony,” she said. “Every moment, experience, and memory all flow together to create a melody. There are good parts and bad parts, where the beats may speed up and intensify, but each part of the piece is what makes it unique. Life is a melody, and we are all the composers to our own pieces.”
Ashley Symone Hackett is a senior at John Muir High School and lives in Pasadena. She is currently a member of the Black Student Union, Pasadena Panthers Youth Cheer and Dance, John Muir Pep Squad, secretary of the Associated Student Body, a dance trainer with Los Angeles Country Tiny Tots, activities leader with the VA of Greater Los Angeles, and youth leader at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Ashley enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking with her dad, watching football and basketball, hiking, and swimming. She plans to study human biology and would like to attend University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, or University of Washington. Ashley is the daughter of Alvin and Ramona Hackett; she has two siblings, Jordan and Kennedy.
“For me, ‘The Melody of Life’ means that everyone has highs and lows in life, but just like in music both high notes and low notes add value to the piece, just as it would in life,” she said. “Low times in life are often dreaded but to me these times help add value and character to an individual. Without the low times that I have experienced, I would not be able to appreciate the high moments of life that I have been blessed with.”
Rucha S. Kadam is a senior at La Cañada High School and lives in La Cañada Flintridge. She is currently a member of the LCHS Varsity soccer team, Assistance League of Flintridge, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Space Academy, 2018 Miss La Cañada Flintridge Royal Court, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Board, Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), California Scholarship Federation (CSF), treasurer of LCHS Associated Student Body (ASB), Hackademia director, and LCUSD Technology and Computer Science intern. She plans to study computer science or medical science and would like to attend Amherst College, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, Swarthmore College, or Wellesley College. Rucha enjoys baking, reading, listening to music, playing board games, and the piano. Rucha is the daughter of Shailesh Kadam and Vaishali Bhosale; she has one brother, Ahan.
“Music is universal – it transcends the barriers of language, religion, race, culture, or ideological beliefs and culture.” she said. “Music can bring together people by connecting them through the feelings that all humans share with each other. Music has the ability to evoke our most raw and powerful emotions. Music can draw out experiences and memories that unify us, despite our differences. Music can have an immense impact on our lives.”
Sherry Xiaorui Ma is a senior at San Marino High School and lives in Temple City. She is currently editor-in-chief of the San Marino High School Titanian Yearbook, president and founder of the Make-A-Wish Club, and a Varsity Basketball manager. Sherry enjoys playing the flute and piano, reading, dancing, and spending time with friends. She plans to study communication and media studies and would like to attend Emerson College, Fordham University, New York University, or University of Southern California. Sherry is the daughter of Alex Luk and Kristy Ma; she has one sister, Sally Yang.
“Music is a language that is spoken through emotions. Not everyone can understand words, but everyone understands the power of love and kindness,” she said. “We are all connected, just like the music notes that are intermittently connected. Music gives you the power to reach people you know, and even the people you don’t know. The ‘Melody of Life’ is about the musical conversation all around us that expresses what cannot be said. This melody can help humans forget their differences and come together to transform negativity into hope, freedom, and color. This year’s theme has a very deep emotional connection to me because of how passionate I am about artistic expression.”
Micaela Sue McElrath is a senior at Westridge School and lives in Pasadena. She is currently an afterschool volunteer tutor with Stars, vice president of the 12th grade class at Westridge School, third year Peer to Peer counselor, and a teacher assistant in a fourth grade classroom. Micaela enjoys being involved in community service, all things fashion, hair, and makeup, and is avid watcher of football and baseball. She plans to study psychology, education, and English and would like to attend Bard College, Connecticut College, Fordham University, Trinity College, or University of Southern California. Micaela is the daughter of Matthew McElrath and Inez Enguidanos-McElrath; she has four siblings, Stuart, Belen, Mariah, and Evan.
“Throughout the years, I have listened to many different types of music styles and genres; ranging from country music to radio hits,” she said. “The diversity in my music choices reflect [sic] the diversity in my life. My dad introduced me to classic rock while my mom raised me on Mexican love songs. The constant throughout all of this has been my love for Selena Quintanilla. I grew up listening to her music with my family. Selena has served as a role model to me of a strong woman with an influential voice, using her gifts to help others.”
Helen Susan Rossi is a senior at Flintridge Preparatory School and lives in La Cañada Flintridge. She is currently a member or the Cooking Club, Diversity Club, Flint Leadership Club, and a Flintridge Prep Senior Leader. Helen’s community activities include National Charity League of Glendale, Senior Girl Scout, Troop 7331, Hathaway Sycamores Tutor, Arthritis Foundation intern and Arthritis Foundation 2018 Youth Honoree. Helen enjoys cooking, photography, creative writing, and drawing. She plans to study business and psychology and would like to attend New York University, University of California, Los Angeles, or University of Southern California. Helen is the daughter of Philip and Susan Rossi.
“The theme ‘The Melody of Life,’ reminds me of my days as a summer counselor when I taught young campers to play the recorder,” she said. “Some caught on quickly, and others had to work harder to master the notes, but we all helped each other out. We laughed uproariously at the terrible sounds that first emerged, but eventually they all played a respectable version of “Yankee Doodle.” That truly represents ‘The Melody of Life’ because with perseverance and support we created a melody together.”
The Royal Court will attend nearly 100 community and media functions over the course of the festivities, serving as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena community, and the greater Los Angeles area. The grand finale for the 2019 Royal Court will be riding on a float in the 130th Rose Parade presented by Honda and attending the 105th Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual.