First Person Account: The Rose Court Tryouts


The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Royal Court Selection, located just up the street from Mayfield, has forever been a well-known Pasadena tradition of excellence and leadership. The foundation rewards impressive acts of service, compassion, and respect. The Royal Court, a branch of the Tournament of Roses Foundation is comprised of seven girls aged 17-18, who are chosen based on a number of criteria including public speaking ability, academic achievement, youth leadership, and community and school involvement.

This year, over 600 candidates participated in the try out process and I had the opportunity to make it to the top twenty-five candidates. As someone who is not big on public speaking, this experience was one that really helped boost my confidence. 

I missed the first day of tryouts, but I attended the Monday the 9th make-up day which was an intimidating experience, for there were no other Mayfield girls there at my time slot. All the girls I met were extremely welcoming and friendly and I can definitely say that I met new friends throughout the process. 

The following week, I was extremely excited to hear that I was invited back for round two. In this round, we had a minute to answer several questions to the committee. 

As each round progressed, the interviews got longer and more personal. 

Round three consisted of more questions, including some yes/no, that took a minute and thirty seconds. I was fortunate enough to be called back to round four where they picked twenty five girls from the well-qualified pool of 75. 

The final 25 were gathered on Tuesday September 24, on the steps of the Tournament House to take media photos and prepare for our final interview. For this, we were invited into a conference room with all of the judges and although intimidating, they were very friendly. Within four-five minutes, each judge had the opportunity to ask questions – ranging from favorite song to leadership roles in the community. 

It was almost a week before the selection of the Rose Court was announced. That morning, 25 finalists gathered at the Tournament House and prepared for all of our friends, families and the media to arrive. 

The experience was so thrilling and it was so amazing to see all my Mayfield sisters come to support Samanatha Kennedy and me. Although not chosen, I will never forget having taken part and I am extremely grateful to have made it that far. And though it may be out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend that all who have the opportunity should participate in this Pasadena tradition.