Last month we reported on Franklin's Rose Festival Princess; now it's Cleveland's turn!

DAVID F. ASHTON - 2018s Portland Rose Festival CHS Princess, Sydney Toops, receives her tiara from outgoing 2017 Princess Biftu Amin. After Cleveland High School (CHS) classes were over for the day on the afternoon of March 18, students gathered in the auditorium to learn who would represent the Warriors during the 2018 Portland Rose Festival.

"Both our student candidates are hard-working and ambitious; and more than that, they want to do right by our community," remarked Principal Ayesha Freeman before the program got underway. "Our candidates are amazing and wonderful young women; and I'd be thrilled for either one of them to represent our school!"

Both seniors, candidates Elise Anderson and Sydney Toops were warmly welcomed as they walked on stage.

2017 Portland Rose Festival CHS Princess Biftu Amin had returned for the ceremony to address the candidates. "Congratulations to both of you for making it this far; you should be very proud of yourselves.

"I want you to look at this moment not as a competition, but as a chance to make a difference and make memories, along with other amazing individuals like yourselves," Amin said – and then advised, "Most importantly stay true to yourself, and what you stand for and who you are."

When CHS Vice Principal Katie Wagner made the announcement that Sydney Toops had had been selected, smiles abounded.

After thanking everyone for their support, Princess Sydney received gifts, and posed for photographs.

"When I heard my name read, so many emotions went through my head," Princess Sydney confided to THE BEE. "After not being selected when I participated last year, now I'm feeling excitement, joy, and I am almost overwhelmed!"

Princess Sydney said she's a life-long Inner Southeast Portland resident, having attended Meriwether Lewis Elementary School in Woodstock, Sellwood Middle School, and now she will be the third generation of her family to graduate from Cleveland High.

Away from school, Princess Sydney is a lifeguard and swim instructor at Mt. Scott Community Center, and she also volunteers as a Special Olympics coach.

"I look forward to meeting all the other Princesses and getting to know them, being a good representative for my school, and learning from my mentor," she said.

Princess Sydney plans to attend Portland State University to pursue a career as a Special Education teacher. Her educational aspirations will be aided by the $3,500 scholarship she receives, provided by The Randall Group.

Wave to her during the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade on the evening of June 2; and cheer her on at the Queen's Coronation on June 9 at 8:30 a.m., in Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

For information about Portland Rose Festival, go online:

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