The Pasadena Tournament of Roses® 100th Rose Queen
Isabella Marie Marez
When Isabella Marie Marez was crowned the Tournament of Roses’ (TofR) 2018 Rose Queen, she joined a select group of young women chosen to ascend to the throne. But that she happens to be the 100th marks a significant milestone. Marez says about the distinction, “It’s a big honor and one that I never expected to have in my life. It’s a magical experience – I’m meeting people I never would expect to meet, doing things I have never been able to do.” The duties of the Rose Queen are already part of Marez’s ethos. She explains, “I’m on the Service Commission in my school, something I’m very proud of. Our high school wants to underscore the difference that education makes in someone’s life. That’s also what I want to emphasize as a person and as Rose Queen.” A senior at La Salle High School in Pasadena, Marez has played softball for the past eight to ten years. From it she learned time management, an asset that is crucial as Rose Queen. She states, “I know how to organize my days to include academics, sports, and my duties. Being on a softball team most of my life has prepared me for this. This requires the same dedication and time management as a sport.” With her hectic schedule, Marez does not get a lot of downtime. She says wistfully, “Whenever I get the chance, I do homework. And I try to sleep. I love watching movies with my family – my mom and sisters are film fanatics. Watching movies and playing softball are a big part of my life.” Friends are also a huge part of her life. Informs Marez, “I went to high school with my two best pals; and I have two or three best friends out of school. They’re very happy for me and I do miss them a lot. I haven’t been able to see them as much but they’re very excited for me and they tell me to enjoy it because this is a once in a lifetime experience. I can’t wait for New Year’s Day to be here – to wake up at 1:30 in the morning, get ready, and ride in the float. I just want to experience the joy of having all of
Pasadena being together on that one special day.” Lance Tibbet, 2018 Tournament of Roses President, explains how the organization has evolved. “One of the things about the Tournament that has really transformed that people don’t know is the way we’re involved in the community. We give over $165,000 a year just to local events; the foundation gives over $265,000 a year to non-profits in the community; we’re giving scholarships; we’re being strategic with our partners like Disney, L.A. Dodgers. The Parade and Game provide about $300M in the region. We’re more engaged in our own backyard, in a very targeted way.” To those who question the Rose Queen’s and Court’s relevance in today’s world, Tibbet offers, “These amazing young women demonstrate that there’s so much more to the Tournament than the Parade and the Game. We are proud, as an association, to provide opportunities for kids to leave home for the first time to participate. The band kids, in particular, aspire to become better for the chance to be selected by their music directors to travel to Pasadena. We celebrate in our New Year’s Day Parade the artistry of the kids, the beauty of the floats, and the outstanding talents of athletes who play in the Game. By doing so we bring people together – we all know there are people out there who want to divide and separate us – and it is a remarkable thing that we get to do.” The pageantry displayed every New Year’s Day in Pasadena is broadcast all over the world. It is seen by over 50 million viewers watching on television at home and close to a million people on the five-mile parade route on Colorado Blvd. If, on that singular occasion, we are all united in friendship and harmony, then the Tournament of Roses, the Rose Queen and her Court can add one more accomplishment – extending goodwill to humankind. We should be so lucky to have 100 more Rose Queens.