Newly crowned Rose Queen Naomi Stilitano poses for a picture with her parents.
Newly crowned Rose Queen Naomi Stilitano poses for a picture with her parents.

Naomi Stilitano Named Rose Court Queen

Congratulations senior Naomi Stilitano for winning Rose Court Queen!

The initial reveal of the 2024 Rose Court occurred on Oct. 2, where Naomi Stilitano, a senior at Arcadia High School (AHS) was announced as a finalist, along with six other girls: Trinity Dela Cruz, Marshall Fundamental School; Olivia Bohanec, La Salle College Preparatory; Emmerson Tucker, Blair High School; Jessica Powell, Flintridge Preparatory School; Mia Moore-Walker, Flintridge Preparatory School; Phoebe Ho, South Pasadena High School.

Stilitano was born in Calabria, Italy, before moving to California at seven years old. Upon arriving in the West Coast, the first major event she witnessed was the annual Rose Parade, along with the Rose Princesses and Queen.

“Seeing the [Court] on the float inspired me as a little girl and made me realize maybe I [could] be a princess on that float some day,” Stilitano recalled.

Years went by and the thought of being a Rose Princess started to fade away, until last year, when she heard about Rose Court auditions.

“The interview process was honestly fun,” Stilitano beamed. “I remember being a bit nervous for the first interview because I only had 15 seconds to answer a question. As I went on, the amount of time you got to speak during the interviews got longer and I got more comfortable and confident.”

Stilitano was especially grateful for her parents, who were supportive of her the entire time. 

“It wasn’t easy,” Stilitano admitted. “There were a lot of obstacles and bumps along the way, but they kept my mindset positive. Also my Nonna (grandma) was cheering and supporting me from Italy.”

 As a member of the Court, she, along with the other princesses, is required to help the community and attend all the events planned for the year by the Tournament of Roses. While at times, it can be rather time consuming, Stilitano admitted that the packed schedules were able to teach her a lesson on time management. 

“One thing this experience has taught was time management and how time is so precious. So whatever spare time I get I always try to catch up on work.”

On Oct. 27, the seven finalists stood amongst a crowd in a similar stage they once were earlier that month, anxiously anticipating the announcement. After the initial introduction of the princesses, Stilitano was crowned Rose Court Queen, a dream she had been hoping for since she was a young girl.

For every Rose Parade, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses holds a contest to determine that year’s Rose Court princesses, as well as a separate announcement for the crowning of the Rose Queen. Starting in early September, the potential candidates participated in a series of interviews and were selected based upon a combination of qualifications including public speaking abilities, school and community involvement, as well as academic achievement. 

The application consisted of four interviews. The initial interview was open to all girls between the ages of 17 and 21, and about 600 girls applied. After the first interview, there would be a series of call backs before determining the final potential candidates for Rose Princesses. 

The applicants would then move on to the Rose Court Announcement in October, where the number of princesses are determined. These finalists are open to a variety of opportunities including hands-on volunteering events as well as a $7,500 educational scholarship. 

“I hope to be an inspiration, not just to little girls, but to everyone,” Stilitano implied. “To anyone that is reading, I hope for them to not fear change. Change is a big part of life and there will be obstacles along the way that will try to stop you from achieving your goals, but you have to keep going. Keep that positive mindset. Keep pushing for your dreams. Because you will never know if you don’t try.”

Congratulations again to Stilitano and the rest of the Rose Court Princesses! 


Photo Courtesy of AUSD

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