By Ryan Herron
Nine hundred girls came from all ends of the greater Pasadena area in hopes of becoming one of seven Rose Court princesses a few weeks ago. Many of these individuals were seniors from LCHS, dreaming of mirroring the path taken by Madison Teodo, a 2013 LCHS grad on the 2012-2013 Royal Court, and 2014 grads, Katie Lipp and Lizzie Wolff on the 2013-2014 Royal Court.
The first interview process took place at the Pasadena Tournament of Roses House. Each girl was granted 15 seconds to give a mini speech on why she was trying out. After the interview, the princess hopefuls traversed the grounds of the tournament house where they learned about the history of the Rose Court.
After several rounds of interviews and callbacks, the number of girls was narrowed down from 900 to 250 to 75 to 39. The final 39 anxiously awaited the calling of their number.
The joyous verdict arrived for one La Cañada hopeful, “From La Cañada High School, number 443, Sarah Shaklan.”
Sarah described the thoughts that were going through her head when she heard her number called, “I was filled with so much excitement that all I could really think was, ‘This is me. I just got it. Is this really happening?’”
Supporting her on the big day were her parents and two brothers, Jonathan and Andrew. She thinks that her role as the “big sis” in her family helped her in applying to the Royal Court.
Sarah initially decided to apply to the Court for several distinct reasons: “ I thought it would be a great learning experience. It would take me out of my comfort zone and introduce me to a wide variety of great opportunities.”
In the several stages leading up to the decision of the final seven princesses, Sarah purposefully wore the same outfit to every interview: a black dress, nude heels, complemented with a large statement necklace. Her intention in wearing the same outfit repeatedly was to leave an image in the judge’s minds that they could attach to her number.
The judges are unaware of the participants’ names until after the process is over; the girls are strictly identified by the number that is given to them.
After being selected for the Royal Court, Sarah realized the importance that comes with the title of “Princess.” She described the seven young women as role models in their communities who must interact with a variety of people on a weekly basis.
In the upcoming months, she is most excited about all of the events involving children. Sarah has always had a love for children and sees this as another opportunity to interact with them. But most of all, she dreams of the first day of the new year.
After the bell has dropped in New York and the ones digit of the year has flipped from a five to a six, Sarah’s childhood aspiration will come true.
“I’m extremely excited to ride on the float. Every [southern California] girl has wanted to do that since she was a young child. To say that I had the amazing opportunity to ride in the Rose Parade on the Royal Court Float, will be an awesome feeling.”
Before the long stretch of over 100 events begins in early November, Sarah must first go through a series of preparations: over 30 hours of training (speech, etiquette, and eating), 5 hours of wardrobe fitting and tailoring, 4.5 hours of hair and makeup consultation, and several photo shoots.
Sarah is excited that she will be spending time with the six other girls who she says are already “really good friends. We mesh well as a group.”
La Cañada is proud to have a Rose Princess amongst its students and congratulates Sarah on her selection to the 2015-2016 Royal Court.
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