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Rose Queen: Pasadena Teen Earns Crown

Vanessa Manjarrez, 17, attends Mayfield Senior School.

Vanessa Natalie Manjarrez ascended from princess to queen Tuesday, as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses chose her for the most coveted position on the Royal Court. 

The tournament selected the Mayfield Senior School teen from the seven princesses on the court, whittled from a group of 33 finalists. The Royal Court will attend more than 150 community and media functions leading up to the 124th Rose Parade on Jan. 1. 

Manjarrez began her quest for the crown in September, when she and a group of some 900 young, Pasadena-area young women participated in rounds of interviews. Selections were based on a range of qualities including public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement, community involvement and personality.

The princesses who comprise the Royal Court are: 

  • Kathryne Alice Benuska, (#848), 17, Maranatha High School
  • Tracy Italia Cresta (#376), 17, La Salle High School
  • Victoria Sophia McGregor (#268), 17, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
  • Nicole Cherie Nelam (#765), 17, Pasadena High School
  • Sonia Marie Shenoi (#451), 17, San Marino High School
  • Madison Michelle Barili Teodo (#222), 17, La Canada High School

Here is some background on each member of the court, as provided by the Tournament of Roses: 

Rose Queen Vanessa Natalie Manjarrez, 17, lives in Pasadena and attends Mayfield Senior School, where she is on the Diversity Committee and Advising Council.  She also participates in the Dance Conservatory and is involved with the National Charity League, the Pasadena Humane Society and Villa Esperanza. When in college, Vanessa hopes to study business and science – stem cell research and genetics are among her specific interests.  Her hobbies include traveling and volunteering. Vanessa’s parents are Maria Sarry and Armando Manjarrez.

Rose Princess Kathryne Alice Benuska, 17, lives in Altadena and attends Maranatha High School.  She is currently on the varsity volleyball team and coaches a team of younger girls in the sport, which she finds very rewarding.  Kathryne has been on a mission trip to Guatemala and she plans work internationally in a field to benefit those in need, after majoring in business and minoring in international relations. In her free time, she enjoys singing, reading, acting and doing soduko puzzles. Her parents are Kalmah and Carrie Benuska.  Kathryne has a brother, Luke, 19 and a sister, Ellie, 21.

Rose Princess Tracy Italia Cresta, 17, attends La Salle High School and resides in Pasadena. She is captain of the cross country and track and field teams, and is a member of the National Honor Society, the California Scholarship Federation, Student Ambassadors and the Physical Activity Club.  She plans to attend either San Diego State University or Loyola Marymount University.  Tracy hopes to become a lawyer and later, a judge.  She collects mermaids and enjoys numerous sports, especially running, swimming, diving, hiking and basketball. Her parents are Norberto and Ruth Cresta, and she has a brother, Burt, 16.

Rose Princess Victoria Sophia McGregor, 17, attends Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and lives in Pasadena. She is president of the Science and Environment Club, and is a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation. Victoria is on the varsity tennis team and also competes in swimming.  She has been active in Girl Scouts and served as secretary of her school’s Business Club.  Victoria has learned Greek folk dancing and in her free time enjoys art and community service. Her parents are Richard and Kristen McGregor and she has a sister, Anastasia, 16.

Rose Princess Nicole Cherie Nelam, 17, lives in Pasadena and attends Pasadena High School.  She is a volunteer at her church and has participated in the Wiggle Waggle Walk benefiting the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA.  Nicole plans to attend Pasadena City College and hopes to subsequently enroll at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is interested in studying nursing and medicine.  Her leisure time activities include reading, dancing, baking, fishing and camping.  Her parents are Yolanda Franklin and Michael Nelam and she has a sister, Victoria, 19.

Rose Princess Sonia Marie Shenoi, 17, lives in San Marino and attends San Marino High School. She volunteers in the pediatrics department at Huntington Memorial Hospital, and is active in the Red Cross Club and ACTS Christian Club. She recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award and is a senior Ambassador Girl Scout. Sonia loves working with children and hopes to work in the pediatric field.  She enjoys playing the piano and saxophone, as well as traveling, sampling exotic cuisines and baking. Her parents are Allan and Lalita Shenoi.  She has a sister, Anita, 14 and a brother, Tommy, 10.

Rose Princess Madison Michelle Barili Teodo, 17, lives in La Canada and attends La Canada High School.  She is captain of her school’s varsity volleyball team and president of the concert choir. Madison is member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation.  She is Girl Scouts Gold Award recipient, and was a banner carrier in the 2012 Rose Parade. She currently volunteers at Verdugo Hills Hospital.  Madison would like to be an elementary school teacher with an emphasis on speech therapy.  Her parents are Mark and Cinda Teodo and she has two sisters, Megan, 24, and Molly, 21.

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