PASADENA, Calif. (October 3, 2022) – The Pasadena Tournament of Roses is proud to announce the seven members of the 2023 Royal Court presented by Citizens Business Bank. The 28 finalists were joined by friends, family and Tournament of Roses Members to announce the seven members of the Royal Court. The time-honored tradition brings nearly 200 people together to celebrate this iconic event, complete with the Pasadena City College Lancer Band.
Members of the 2023 Royal Court will serve as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena community and the greater Los Angeles area, and will each receive a $7,500 educational scholarship. The selected young ladies exemplify character, service and leadership modeled through their commitment to family, school and community.
Applicants from 30 Pasadena area schools participated in the interview process, and volunteer members of the Tournament of Roses’ Queen and Court Committee selected the Royal Court based on several criteria, including public speaking ability, academic achievement, youth leadership, and community and school involvement.
The Announcement and Coronation of the 104th Rose Queen and presentation of the 2023 Royal Court presented by Citizens Business Bank will be held on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, on the front lawn of Tournament House.
The Rose Queen® and Royal Court are iconic traditions, steeped in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses’ history and continue as a treasured legacy. Royal Court members experience countless benefits; becoming part of an organization dedicated to hands-on volunteerism, discovering opportunities to connect with and give back to the local community, developing public speaking skills and growing self-confidence.
The 2023 Royal Court will ride down Colorado Blvd. on the Royal Court float in the 134th Rose Parade presented by Honda and attend the 109th Rose Bowl Game®, both on Monday, January 2, 2023.
The seven members of the 2023 Royal Court are (in alphabetical order):
Salia Baligh is a senior at Alverno Heights Academy and lives in Pasadena. She is currently captain of the school basketball team, Senior Class secretary and treasurer, president of the ASL Club, an Alverno Ambassador, vice president of the Fashion Club, member of the Social Justice Club, member of the Science Club, member of Bake a Change Charity and a track and field athlete. Salia enjoys photography, volunteering, sports and painting. Growing up with hearing loss and once living in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Salia plans to study medicine with a focus on sports or ear, nose and throat and is interested in attending UCLA, USC, Stanford, UC Berkley, Cal Lutheran or a Cal State University. Salia is the daughter of Samer Baligh and Dalia Abougharbia and has a brother, Samer, and two sisters, Sahara and Sabrina.
Bella Rose Yaeko Ballard is a senior at The Ogburn School, a distance learning school, and lives in Altadena. She is currently a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities, a volunteer soccer coach with Chelsea Football Club, a soccer player at Santa Clara Blue Heat Football Club, West Coast Football Club, Venice Beach Football Club, a street soccer player and a tennis player at The Arroyo Seco and Flint Canyon Tennis Clubs. Bella enjoys reading, calligraphy, collecting vinyl, playing chess and learning astronomy and astrophysics. She will be attending Yale in the fall and is interested in studying economics, law and astrophysics. Bella is the daughter of Joseph and Angela Ballard and has a sister, Samantha.
Michelle Cortez-Peralta is a senior at Pasadena High School and lives in Pasadena. She is currently president and founder of the Girls Learning Internal (GLI) Club, Student Board representative, a member of the California Scholarship Federation, TRIO Upward Bound at Cal State Los Angeles, co-captain of the girls varsity tennis team and a member of the baking club, tutoring club and the Creative Arts Media and Design Academy at her high school. Michelle enjoys hand embroidery, reading, graphic design, volunteering, advocating for women’s rights, and spending time with family and friends. She plans to study civil or environmental engineering and is interested in attending USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal State San Luis Obispo or Stanford. Michelle is the daughter of Antonio Cortez and Bertha Peralta and has a brother, Daniel.
Adrian Crick is a senior at Sequoyah School and lives in Altadena. She is currently president of the Sequoyah High School STEM Institute, teen volunteer at the Altadena Library, a teen member of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., band leader, drummer and pianist in the Sequoyah High School Gryphon Ensemble, Student Lean Admissions Ambassador and grade representative and Steering Committee member at her school. Adrian enjoys gardening, cooking, baking, learning new instruments, nature and urban photography, hiking, sewing and training her dog. She plans to study financial management, production and direction of film and TV, artist management or real estate investing and is interested in attending Yale, MIT, Northwestern University, Howard University, Spelman College, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan, Brown University, Colgate or UCLA. Adrian is the daughter of Ian and Windy Crick and has a sister, Ava.
Zoë Denoncourt is a senior at Marshall Fundamental and lives in Pasadena. She is currently president of the French Club, vice president of Yoga Club, secretary of Orienteering Club, treasurer of her softball team and plays powderpuff and softball. Zoë enjoys running, drawing, sports and volunteering. She plans to study business, law or international studies and is in the process of deciding which college or university she will attend. Zoë is the daughter of Daniel and Gwenn-Aël Denoncourt and has a sister, Uma.
Sahanna Rajinikanthan is a senior at Arcadia High School and lives in Arcadia. She is currently president of the Chemistry Club, lead programmer and builder on the Vex Robotics Team, information desk leader at USC Hospital, volunteer at Women’s Shelter in Los Angeles, library volunteer, tutor at the Pasadena Boys and Girls Club, an assistant singing teacher at the non-profit organization Araneri and involved in swimming. Sahanna enjoys reading, dancing, singing and piano. She plans to study electrical engineering and is interested in attending Cal Tech, a University of California or California State University. Sahanna is the daughter of Rajinikanthan Seshadri and Geetha Rajinikanthan and has a younger brother, Rishab Raaj.
Uma Wittenberg is a senior at La Cañada High School and lives in La Cañada. She is currently a princess on the 2022 Miss La Cañada Flintridge Royal Court, member of the Les Fleurettes Debutante program, senior class treasurer, member of the Teens Advancement for Children’s Hospital (TACH) Club, member of the theater program, member of the California Scholarship Federation and Nation Honors Society and takes weekly tennis lessons at the La Cañada Country Club. Uma enjoys playing tennis, photography and cooking. She plans to study business, marketing, economics or finance and is interested in attending New York University, Columbia University, Barnard College, Boston University, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara or UCLA. Uma is the daughter of Mark and Vanesa Wittenberg and has a sister, Mila.