By Jenny Wang
From May 2016 to the end of January 2017, a group of 40 seniors from schools all across the San Gabriel Valley served as Student Ambassadors, working behind the scenes at many of the famous Tournament of Roses events that millions of people around the world gather to watch. This year, seniors Caitlin Aenlle-Rocha, Diana Carranza, Elizabeth Lee, Jennifer Yoon, and this reporter (Jenny Wang) were the five ambassadors from LC.
First, ambassadors were given necessary monthly training to respond to all sorts of encounters that could happen when thousands of people gather together in one area. They learned about crowd control, public speaking, and general safety procedures among other more specifics for each event. They then received their name tags and uniforms with every piece of clothing sporting the well-known red rose.
Senior Caitlin Aenlle-Rocha said, “The training process definitely prepared me for talking and answering questions from a variety of people. My favorite perks were meeting people from all the surrounding schools and being able to help behind the scenes of the parade. I met and laughed with some amazing people that I would never have met without this program. I am incredibly thankful for this truly unforgettable experience.”
Even before December, Student Ambassadors gave tours of float manufacturing barns, interacted with the media at the Coronation of the Rose Queen, presented the Tournament House (Wrigley Mansion) to the Boy and Girl Scouts marching in the parade, and starred in the Tournament of Roses mannequin challenge video.
The week of the parade was extremely busy for the Student Ambassadors. The float barns they monitored were packed with people placing on flowers and tourists taking in the whole float construction process. While working, they also watched Bandfest, an event that featured musicians of all ages from across the globe. The Players’ Reception was filled with USC and Penn State superfans bustling to meet the players and coaches. Finally, on parade day, Student Ambassadors helped Grandstand VIPs and members of TV corner with programs, beverages, and food. They even worked at Post-Parade, where they answered hundreds of questions from people who were able to see each float up close.
Senior Elizabeth Lee said, “It was a great experience where I got to learn all about the local history of the Rose Parade, and I got to meet a lot of great Student Ambassadors from different schools in the Pasadena district. My favorite part was supporting the bands and watching them perform at Bandfest.”
If you’re interested in participating in this historical Pasadena tradition, keep a lookout for applications in the Counselor Connections in March and April.
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