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lnws-cancer-102209More than 200 La Canada women filled the Thursday Club headquarters on Woodleigh Lane on Thursday  for an afternoon tea called “Come Together for the Cure.” The afternoon featured a speech and video presentation by Rusty Robertson, a prominent marketing and media figure, who helped found the cancer advocacy organization, Stand Up to the Cure.

Movie producer and fellow cancer advocate Laura Ziskin was also scheduled to speak. Ziskin, however, is currently enrolled in an experiment trail treatment program run by Stand Up Cancer and was unable to attend.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m., we will know who the Rose Queen is for the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade and 96th Rose Bowl Game.

I’ve covered the selection of the Tournament of Roses Royal Court and Rose Queen for the La Cañada Valley Sun for five years. And the paper itself has covered Court and Queen for decades.

The naming of the Rose Queen is particularly fun for me to photograph and write about because it allows for one girl to be in the spotlight. Once you’re selected as Rose Queen, you’re one for life. Sometimes the reactions to this great honor are priceless, as you can see from the following photos.


1930 | Holly Halsted
Holly Halsted is saluted as the Tournament of Roses Queen in 1930. 

Rose Queen Holly Halsted










2003 | Megan Chinen
The Rose Princesses react as Megan Chinen, second from left, is named 2004 Rose Queen. The others are, from left, Christina Mills, Laura Stassel and Stephanie Barnes. (Scott Roby/News-Press)

Rose Queen Megan Chinen







2004 | Ashley Moreno
Ashley Moreno, center, gets hugged by Rose Princesses Lisa Pallay, left, Jennifer Propper, Alaire Hanashian, Kara Murphy, Allison Pedro and Megan Sheehan after Ashley was named this year’s Rose Queen. (Scott Roby/News-Press) 








2005 | Camille Clark
Camille Clark (third from left) was announced Rose Queen for the 2006 Rose Parade. She receives hugs from court princesses Eliza Walper of Polytechnic, Alyssa Jones of Pasadena City College and Michelle Corral of Flintridge Prep. (Tammy Abbott/News-Press)

Queen Camille Clark


2006 | Mary McCluggage
This was a split second reaction from Rose Queen Mary McCluggage reacting as she hears her name being called by Tournament of Roses President Paul L. Holman announcing her as the Rose Queen for the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade.  (Michael J. Arvizu/Valley Sun)

Rose Queen Mary McCluggage










2007 | Dusty Gibbs
Dusty Gibbs, center, reacts to being named the 2008 Tournament of Roses Rose Queen. This year probably marked the first time we ran a photo of the newly-announced Rose Queen without actually seeing her face, but I really enjoyed seeing her reaction, plus the reaction of Rose Princess Kelsey MacDougall reaching over to embrace her. (Michael J. Arvizu/Valley Sun)

Rose Queen Dusty Gibbs










2008 | Courtney Lee
Arcadia High School student Courtney Lee reacts after being named Rose Queen of the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade. I like how she seems to look around as if making sure she heard correctly. Or perhaps she’s just gasping? (Michael J. Arvizu/Valley Sun)










lnws-rain-101509Not sand-bagged by rain
The first rainstorm of the season caused plenty of anxiety and dozens of traffic accidents, but no mudslides.

Resorts ready for busy winter season
Rain in the foothills typically means snow in the mountains. As the first storm of the season showered La Cañada this week, the owners of Newcomb’s Ranch and Mt. Waterman ski resort were preparing for the reopening of Angeles Crest Highway and what they hope will be a very busy winter.

Q&A: Mark Geragos
A set of news articles hangs on the walls of attorney Mark Geragos’ office, a record of the high-profile cases he has argued.set of news articles hangs on the walls of attorney Mark Geragos’ office, a record of the high-profile cases he has argued.

Coop to roost elsewhere
A months-long cockfight over a proposed backyard chicken coop came to an end Monday as the La Cañada Flintridge City Council voted 5-0 to deny a side yard setback variance that would have allowed the installation of a coop to go forward.

Spartan volleyball notches win
Try as they did, the San Marino girls’ volleyball team just could not keep up with La Cañada Tuesday afternoon, not with the kills and aces dropping from Spartan hands like raindrops from the gloomy skies outside.

Come to our open house
There’s a lot of activity around town this month, and I’m not just speaking of the sand-bagging chores that have been frantically taking place to keep slippery slopes of the Angeles National Forest out of our backyards and homes.

The La Cañada girls’ volleyball team swept San Marino with ease on Tuesday, 25-12, 25-11, 25-10. No stats are available at the moment, but the Spartans are now 13-3 on the season, 3-0 in league and are aiming for a perfect league record for the third-straight year.

In other sports news at LCHS, La Cañada cross country had a great meet at the San Gabriel Valley Challenge this weekend.  La Cañada boys’ came in first in Division 2 (1 hour, 24 minutes, 29 seconds) and third place overall behind Loyola (1:20:27) and Colony (1:23:10).  Senior Aayush Shah came in fourth overall for the boys with a resounding 15:54. Senior Johnny Wu was second-best for the Spartans at 21st with 16:47.

The girls’ side also performed admirably, scoring second in Division 2 and seventh overall.  Holly Shreckengast and Meghan Fuelling once again finished side-by-side, this time in sixth (19:37) and seventh place (19:40), respectively.

Coach Andy DiConti also highlighted one special performance from the event: sophomore Brendan Greene (16:47) beat out three Loyola runners in the sophomore race to win first overall–an amazing finish for the Spartan.

Three members of the 2010 Rose Court are from La Canada and include Katherine Margarita Hernandez, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Michelle Louise Van Wyk, La Canada High School; and Natalie Anne Innocenzi, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. (Roger Wilson/Valley Sun)

Three members of the 2010 Rose Court are from La Canada and include Katherine Margarita Hernandez, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Michelle Louise Van Wyk, La Canada High School; and Natalie Anne Innocenzi, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. (Roger Wilson/Valley Sun)

On Monday morning, the 2010 royal court was announced, and this year three La Cañada girls have a spot on the 2010 Rose Court. They are, from La Cañada High School: Michelle Louise Van Wyk; and from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy: Natalie Anne Innocenzi of Arcadia and Katherine Margarita Hernández of Pasadena.

The girls, will act as official representatives of the 121st Rose Parade and 96th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2010.

The other girls on the court are: June Ko, 17, a student at Arcadia High School; Lauren Samantha Rogers, 17, a student at Blair High School; Kinsey Elizabeth Stuart, 18, a student at Pasadena City College; and Ashley Renee Thaxton, 17, a student at John Marshall Fundamental High School.

“Awesome. Awesome!” said Flintridge Sacred Heart President Sister Carolyn McCormack, after the names were announced. “They’re beautiful girls. They’re all winners. It’s always such a wonderful experience for the girls to be in this moment. When one is selected to be selected to be on the rose court it has an impact on her life.”

Van Wyk’s father, David, was all but holding back tears and trembling Monday as his daughter Michelle received congratulatory hugs and kisses from family and La Cañada High School classmates.

“It’s remarkable for me,” said David. “I’ve told people before, I grew up as a kid on the East Coast, watching the parade when I was a child. One of the highlights, of course, was when the rose court always was in the parade, never thinking that so many years later that my daughter would be on the court. It’s amazing.”

“We’re going to get really close,” said Hernandez as she held a bouquet of red roses. “We’re going to spend a lot of time with each other and get to know each other really well.”

The tradition of naming a queen and royal court dates back to 1905, with the selection of the first rose queen, Hallie Woods. Over 1,100 high school and college students from the greater Pasadena area tried out for the royal court, said Tournament of Roses Executive Vice President Jeffrey Throop.

“They should all be princesses,” said FSHA student Brittany Ek, 18. “They’re all really different, diverse girls, and the rose court needs diversity.”

“Adding to their commitments to school, family, friends and jobs, they will begin their role as official ambassadors,” said Throop. “For the next two months they will make nearly 150 appearances representing the Tournament of Roses.”


Some of the 26 Rose Court finalists, from left, include La Cañada High School's Michelle Burrows, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Natalie Innocenzi, La Cañada High School's Michelle Van Wyk, La Cañada High School's Mary Young, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Katherine Hernandez, Flintridge Prep's Mackenzie Campbell and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's Dominique Gold, during the 2010 Tournament of Roses Royal Court Finalists announcement at the Tournament House in Pasadena. Not pictured is Katherine Hernandez. (Raul Roa/Valley Sun)

It’s Tournament of Roses Parade season once again, and this year we have eight local girls vying for a spot on the 2010 rose court.

They are, from La Cañada High School: Michelle Burrows, Michelle Van Wyk and Mary Young; from Flintridge Prep: Frances McCloskey and Mackenzie Campbell; from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy: Natalie Innocenzi, Katherine Hernandez and Dominique Oro.

The girls will act as official representatives of the 121st Rose Parade and 96th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2010.

As we’ve done for countless years at the Valley Sun, we pulled the local girls out Thursday afternoon after they were introduced to the media for the first time and asked them how they feel about being on the group of 26.

“I’m crossing my fingers,” said finalist Dominque Oro, a student at Flintridge Sacred Heart with a laugh about making it onto the final court of seven. “There are so many pretty girls. Everybody is perfect for this.”

On Monday, Oct. 12, the final court of seven will be announced. But the adrenaline rush doesn’t end there: One of those seven will be chosen as the 2010 rose queen on Oct. 20. Both the court announcement and rose queen announcement will be televised live. I know know that KTLA Channel 5, and KTTV Channel 11 will carry the event live for their respective morning shows. Other stations in L.A. will run tape of both in their newscasts throughout the day.