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TRIBUNE PHOTO: DIEGO DIAZ - Portland's 2015 Rose Festival Queen Kahedja Burley of Jefferson High School began her reign Saturday morning at the top of the Rose Festival Court float in the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade.Queen Kahedja Burley, a 17-year-old Jefferson High School junior, is reigning over Portland’s Rosaria.


Burley was crowned Saturday morning, June 6, during a Portland Rose Festival ceremony at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. She is the daughter of Mashavu Hicks and Rondale Burley, and hopes to pursue a career in marketing.

She is the ninth Jefferson High School student, and the first in 17 years, to wear the queen's crown.

Queen Kahedja’s coronation was the first event in Saturday’s Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade that stretched through downtown Portland. The parade’s Grand Marshals were Gov. Kate Brown and former Gov. Barbara Roberts, the first female governor in the state’s history.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: DIEGO DIAZ - The 14 Rose Festival princesses joined Queen Kahedja Burley Saturday morning during the Grand Floral Parade.Burley is a member of Jefferson’s volleyball team, the track squad, the cheer squad, the wrestling team (where she’s the only girl on the squad), student government and the Black Student Union.

In her very little free time, Queen Kahedja says she likes to crochet hats and scarves, or listen to music while she cooks and cleans at home on the weekends.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: DAVID F. ASHTON - Queen Kahedja Burley.The queen’s favorite Rose Festival event? The Junior Parade.

“I went to Beaumont, so this was a form of tradition,” Burley told the Rose Festival organizers early this year. “As a middle-schooler you were considered lame if you were still at school while the parade was going on. The eligibility to skip school wasn’t the highlight of this event. It was the talent that annually filled the Hollywood District streets that made this event so amazing. Giving children the opportunity to showcase what they have been working long and hard on is an exciting privilege.”

TRIBUNE PHOTO: DAVID F. ASHTON - Portland Mayor Charlie Hales offered gifts to the newly crowned Queen Kahedja Burley during Saturday's ceremony at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.