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Everything is coming up roses

WLHS's Emma Waibel wins a spot as princess on 2014 Rose Festival court

A West Linn teen will be part of Portland’s Rose Festival court for the first time. Emma Waibel made history by becoming the first local student selected for the Metro East position on the Rose Festival court.

One hundred high school juniors and seniors from class 4A to 6A schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties applied for positions on the court. Waibel, a junior at West Linn High School, was crowned March 18 as the Metro East princess, joining 14 other young women on the court.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - WLHS junior Emma Waibel will represent West Linn in the Metro East position on Portlands 2014 Rose Festival Court.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Waibel said two days after receiving her crown. It’s the second time she has received a crown, having served as a princess on the West Linn Old Time Fair court in 2011.

“I’m just hoping for the same experience,” Waibel said. “I’m just hoping on a bigger scale.”

As a West Linn princess, Waibel worked with the city’s recreation coordinator, Terri Jones.

“One of the first things that stood out about Emma ... was her remarkable sense of self,” Jones said. “And you don’t have to know her well to know family, friends and community mean everything to her. I am not at all surprised to see her as the first from West Linn chosen as a Rose Festival princess. She has all the admirable qualities you would hope for from someone representing your community.”

“I love this community so much,” Waibel said. “It was really fulfilling to see little girls in my community looking up to me (as an Old Time Fair princess).”

She expects to have that same experience, on a much bigger scale, as she travels across the state representing the Rose Festival.

The West Linn High School community certainly seems to return Waibel’s affection.

“It has been amazing,” she said. “I can’t walk down the hallways without someone saying congratulations. I feel loved and honored that I get to be the first person from West Linn.”

As a Rose Festival princess, Waibel has only four weeks left to enjoy the WLHS community. She will leave school for the year on May 2, when she begins traveling five days a week with the other princesses.

Her grades will be “frozen” on that date, meaning that whatever grade she has earned to that point will become her final grade for the semester.

“There will be projects and classes I make up, because I want to,” she said. She is enrolled in an honors course and two AP classes. She plans to take both AP exams, and she confessed to feeling a little nervous as she plans a new approach to her final grades.

“Finals are always my last haul, so I’m kind of nervous I won’t have that,” she said. “I really value games and being able to go to events. ... This time, I have to rearrange things.”

Emma Waibel has royal experience. She served on West Linn's Old Time Fair court as a princess in 2011.She will be on the road Tuesday through Saturday each week, and she is likely to be found at WLHS on her off days. And there’s one thing that her princess duties won’t require her to miss: Associated Student Body elections. In her application for the court, Waibel said that she is most proud of having served on the ASB, and she has said she intends to run for 2014-15 ASB president.

Each princess is assigned a Rose Court mentor, and Waibel already has met with hers. Rachelle Hannon is a Pacific Power manager in charge of substation standards.

“She’s an environmental engineer, which is something I’m interested in,” Waibel said.

She listed the mentor relationship and traveling throughout Oregon as things she is most looking forward to. But she was anticipating one experience above all else.

“Getting to know the other girls,” she said. “There are girls that have the same interests I do and the same drive. Fifteen of us that are all super-driven women. I think we’ll have so much fun.”

Waibel and her family watch the Grand Floral Parade each year. As a West Linn princess, she rode on the city’s float in the Starlight Parade in 2011. Her favorite Rose Festival event, though, is watching the crowning of the queen each year. It’s not the queen that rivets her attention, though. It’s seeing all the princesses on stage together, holding hands as one of their names is read.

“You see how much they enjoy each other,” she said.

The 2014 queen will be crowned June 7 at Memorial Coliseum, and this year, Waibel will be on that stage, waiting with breathless anticipation to hear what name is read.

This year, more than a few West Linn residents will be waiting breathlessly too.

By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
503-636-1281, ext. 112
email: khoots@westlinntidings.com
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