Ms. Drew Washington, the 94th Tournament of Roses Queen
She is a combination of beauty and brains; not only does excel in athletics, she is equally proficient academically
Even while faced with a battery of cameras and trumpet fanfare, Drew Washington wasn’t nervous because she did not expect her name to be called. After all, she was in the presence of six remarkable young women with equally impressive credentials.
Then came the moment of truth, “The 94th Rose Queen is from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Drew Washington!” said Richard Jackson, 2012 Tournament of Roses president. Her family and classmates screaming, her dad was crying hysterically, yet there was a moment of hesitation in Drew Washington’s mind.
“Wow, they chose me,” says Queen Drew.
Lorie Washington, Drew’s mother, was very nervous until they announced her daughter’s name. She vividly recalls it was “phenomenal and yet surreal.”
According to Mrs. Washington, the family has attended the Rose parade since Drew was the age of one. They also would visit the Tournament House annually.
“I would always tell her that one-day you could be on the Rose Court,” says Mrs. Washington.
This announcement was the conclusion of a month-long process that began with approximately 1,000 Pasadena-area young women who participated in tryouts for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. Queen Drew was a member of the seven-member Royal Court selected last October. The Rose Queen and Royal Court will reign over the 2012 Tournament of Roses festivities, the Rose Parade culminating with Rose Bowl Game.
Queen Drew’s selection appears to correlate with this year’s tournament themed “Just Imagine” and the 98th Rose Bowl football game.
Queen Drew grew up in the same house for 16 years. She attends Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. Her credentials are impressive considering she is only 17 years old. They include captain of her school’s varsity volleyball and varsity track and field teams while active in the Student Ambassador Club, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), the Multi-cultural Club and the Latin Club. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the California Scholarship Federation and Mu Alpha Theta, and the honors math club. As if she isn’t busy enough, during the summer she served as a camp volleyball coach.
“Once I made queen I realize the impact I was making on my community,” says Queen Drew. “I did not realize what an accomplishment this was until I saw family and strangers crying, I realized that not only am I the Tournament of Roses Queen, but a role model for African American community. I honestly feel it’s an honor. It is overwhelming.”
She is only the third African American to bestow the honor of presiding the Tournament of Roses as Queen. The two others were Kristina Smith (1985) and Camille Clark (2006).
Despite the notoriety her friends still treat her the same and her family is very supportive.
However, Queen Drew attributes this drive for excellence to her dad, Craig Washington.
“My dad always said to do my best and never give up,” says Queen Drew. If you try hard and be yourself, and show who you really are, good things will happen.”
Lou Underwood, Drew’s grandfather, recalls at an early age he thought of Drew as an athlete. “But little did I know that she would excel in academics as well as athletics, and become the 2012 Rose Queen. As a grandparent I’m bias, they made the right choice.”
Royal Court of seven young women from the San Gabriel Valley include princesses Morgan Eliza Devaud, 18,of La Cañada High School, Stephanie Grace Hynes, 18 of Maranatha High School, Cynthia Megan Louie, 17, of La Salle High School, Kimberly Victoria Ostiller, 17, of Flintridge Preparatory School, Hanan Bulto Worku, 17, of Pasadena High School and Sarah Nicole Zuno, 17, of Benjamin Franklin High School.
Their tenure runs from October to January. Queen Drew and the princesses serve as ambassadors for both the Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena.
While attending over 150 community events, the Rose Queen and Royal Court, will be given a full wardrobe and fitting from Macy’s as well as hair and makeup styling from Amadeus Salon and Spa. The Royal Court receives a pearl necklace from Mikimoto, who also provides the stately crowns and tiaras. The Queen’s crown features more than 600 cultured pearls and six carats of diamonds.
As for the Queen’s future plans, she has been accepted at DePaul University in Chicago, even as she contemplates attending Georgetown University and NYU. Her goal is to pursue a career in marketing and public relations.
The 123rd Rose Parade, can be seen on KTLA TV on Monday, Jan. 2, at 8 a.m. The Rose Bowl football game will kick off at 2:10 p.m. featuring the Oregon Ducks and the Wisconsin Badgers.