Every year in the City of Pasadena an event is hosted to elect the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. Annually, young women apply from 24 Pasadena schools and are selected by various criteria including public speaking, academic achievement, leadership, and community/school involvement. According to the Tournament of Roses, “The 2019 Royal Court will attend nearly 100 community and media functions, serving as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena community, and the greater Los Angeles area.” The 2019 Royal Court consists of: Helen Susan Rossi (Flintridge Preparatory School), Rucha S. Kadam (La Cañada High School), Lauren Michele Baydaline (Westridge School), Micaela Sue McElrath (Westridge School), Sherry Xiaorui Ma (San Marino High School), Louise Deser Siskel (Sequoyah High School), and Ashley Symone Hackett (John Muir High School). I had the privilege of attending one of their many community appearances and speaking with princesses, Ashley Symone Hackett, about her term as a princess.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was 5 years old. And once the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t wait to take it… My chances were very slim but I’m blessed to be here,” she said. She enjoys football games, cheerleading and spending time with family.
She loves being around children. “With the platform, I plan to Inspire young girls within my community. Because many of them don’t know about opportunities like this, I want them to be able to achieve their dreams. . . And become the best young woman they can be.”
The Tournament of Roses kicked off with a ribbon cutting, and it took place in the Pasadena Convention Center it featured the Royal Court. During the ceremony, they opened the annual visitor hotline, that ribbon cutting was conducted by the Royal Court. This was also prefaced by the Tournament’s ﬁ rst African American President, Gerald Freeny giving information on the Rose Bowl game.