(From left to right) Emily Alicia Olivas Stoker (#276), 17, Temple City High School; Veronica Sara Mejia (#145), 19, Pasadena City College; Mackenzie Joy Byers (#387), 18, Pasadena City College; Gabrielle Ann Current (#85), 18, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Simona K. Shao (#253), 17, Westridge School; Madison Elaine Triplett (#608), 17, John Marshall Fundamental High School and Bergen Louise Onufer (#702), 17, Mayfield Senior School.
Queen will be announced October 21
The seven members of the 2015 Tournament of Roses Royal Court were announced Monday at Tournament House. Selected from a group of 31 finalists, the Royal Court will attend as many as 100 community and media functions, acting as ambassadors of the Tournament and the Pasadena community at large. Their reign will culminate with the 126th Rose Parade® presented by Honda and the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual.
The announcement follows a month-long process in which more than 700 Pasadena-area young women participated. The Tournament’s Queen and Court Committee made its selections based on a number of criteria including poise, speaking ability, academic achievement, and community and school involvement.
The seven Royal Court members are (in alphabetical order): Mackenzie Joy Byers (#387), 18, Pasadena City College; Gabrielle Ann Current (#85), 18, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Veronica Sara Mejia (#145); 19, Pasadena City College; Bergen Louise Onufer (#702), 17, Mayfield Senior School; Simona K. Shao (#253), 17, Westridge School; Emily Alicia Olivas Stoker (#276), 17, Temple City High School; and Madison Elaine Triplett (#608), 17, John Marshall Fundamental High School.
“We are confident that the seven young women selected for the 2015 Royal Court will be outstanding ambassadors,” said Mark Leavens, chair of the Tournament of Roses Queen and Court Committee. “The committee met many impressive young women this year, and it is very exciting for us to announce the Royal Court and to share their inspiring stories during America’s New Year Celebration.”
Rose Princess Mackenzie Joy Byers, 18, is a first-year student at Pasadena City College and lives in Pasadena. She was homeschooled until eighth grade and recently graduated from Temple City High School. During high school, Mackenzie was president of the show choir and acted as commissioner of the arts for her high school’s Associated Student Body Leadership. Mackenzie is interested in musical theater and acting and has been performing since the age of five. She also has been involved in America Sings, an organization which combines music and charitable service. Mackenzie is the daughter of Matt and Sheri Byers; she has five siblings: Chelsea, Jordan, Kaeli, Aubrey and Timmy.
Rose Princess Gabrielle Ann Current, 18, attends Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and lives in Pasadena. Gabrielle also is a student at Colburn School of Music where she studies classical voice. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. Gabrielle is the president of Vivace & Friends and was responsible for producing a benefit concert that raised over $5,000 for Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. She hopes to major in music management in college. The daughter of Jerry and Kathy Current, Gabrielle has an older sister named Niki.
Rose Princess Veronica Sara Mejia, 19, lives in Pasadena and is a first-year student at Pasadena City College where she is majoring in communications and is a member of the track team. A graduate of San Marino High School, Veronica was a peer mentor and captain of the cross country and track teams. She also spent time as a volunteer at Sunrise Assisted Living. In the future, she hopes to work in a clinical setting as a mental health counselor. Veronica’s family moved to Pasadena in the early 1900s and is one of the longest standing Mexican-American families in the city. She is the daughter of Jaime and Yvonne Mejia and has three siblings: Andrea, Samuel and Alyssa.
Rose Princess Bergen Louise Onufer, 17, attends Mayfield Senior School and lives in Pasadena. Bergen enjoys soccer and has been a member of the varsity soccer team for four years. While at Mayfield Senior School, she also has choreographed, taught and performed pieces for her dance conservatory. Bergen is a frequent Eucharistic minister and usher at Holy Family Parish and has trained many confirmation candidates and youth members of the parish. In college, she hopes to study business and communications. Bergen’s parents are Paul and Margit Onufer; she has one younger sibling, Jack.
Rose Princess Simona K. Shao, 17, lives in Arcadia and attends Westridge School where she is the senior class student life representative and president of the Westridge Glee Club. A singer, Simona also is a member of the Westridge Madrigals a cappella group, and as a studio musician has recorded a demo track produced for Rihanna. Simona has volunteered at Hubei International High School in China and completed an internship at the “Hurun Report” in Shanghai. She hopes to attend the University of Pennsylvania with a major in politics, economics or music. Simona is the daughter of Simon Wen and Mona Shao and has one sister: Rebecca.
Rose Princess Emily Alicia Olivas Stoker, 17, lives in Temple City and attends Temple City High School. Emily is the captain of her school’s varsity cheer team and is a member of Link Crew, a freshman mentoring program. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, California Scholastic Federation and is active with the First Baptist Temple City Youth Group. Emily enjoys snowboarding and hiking and hopes to major in chemistry and medicine in college. In the future, she would like to pursue a career in medical research or become a physician. The daughter of Kenneth and Sylvia, Emily has two older siblings: Jeremy and Anissa.
Rose Princess Madison Elaine Triplett, 17, attends John Marshall Fundamental High School and lives in Altadena. Madison is active with the Pasadena City Youth Council, Black Student Union and with the student government at her high school. She plays on the varsity volleyball team and enjoys watching movies and tumbling in her free time. Madison plans to attend Tulane University to study economics with a minor in French. She aspires to develop a non-profit organization that educates minorities on financial literacy. Madison is the daughter of Jouslynn Griffin and has two siblings: Meggie and Paige.
The members of the Royal Court receive wardrobe and accessories for their busy schedule of media events and community appearances from Macy’s, formal gowns from Tadashi, hair styling from Spa Santi, cosmetics and consultation from Estée Lauder and crowns and tiaras courtesy of Mikimoto.
The Announcement and Coronation of the 97th Rose Queen and Presentation of the Royal Court is on October 21 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium Plaza; the event is sponsored by Citizens Business Bank. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase from Sharp Seating Company.
About the Pasadena Tournament of Roses®
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses is a volunteer organization that annually hosts the Rose Parade®, the Rose Bowl Game® and a variety of associated events. The Tournament’s 935 volunteer members act as ambassadors of the organization within the community and serve on one of 31 committees that ensure the success of the parade and game. Collectively, they contribute upwards of 80,000 hours of manpower each year. The 126th Rose Parade presented by Honda and themed “Inspiring Stories,” will take place Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, followed by the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. For additional information on the Tournament of Roses please visit the official website at www.tournamentofroses.com.