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In addition to the Cleveland and Franklin Princesses, a third Inner Southeast student is also a Princess...

VERN UYETAKE - This years Portland Rose Festival Princess for Central Catholic High School, named in March, turns out to be a Woodstock resident - Melyssa Okazaki.The 2020 Portland Rose Festival Princess from Central Catholic High School this year turns out to proudly reside in the Woodstock neighborhood.

The announcement of the school's selection, Melyssa Okazaki, took place as COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions were being enacted; the announcement took place, not at her school, but near the Lloyd Center ice rink, on Friday afternoon, March 13.

How and when Princess Melyssa will be able to serve is still undetermined. About the Portland Rose Festival, Public Relations Manager Rich Jarvis updated THE BEE in mid April, "We're hoping for a ten-day Rose Festival this year – perhaps in the late summer, depending upon when restrictions are lifted – and, pending the approval of City of Portland and other stakeholders."

Nevertheless, Princess Melyssa's enthusiasm for her role in the celebration, whenever it may be, clearly came through during a telephone interview with THE BEE.

"My mom is a Central Catholic alumna, and my brother is an alumnus, so I feel exhilarated to be representing the school! It was an amazing experience, with my teachers, family, and friends supporting me."

Almost every week, you'll find Princess Melyssa and her mother playing at the Eastmoreland Golf Course; and then heading off to Otto's Sausage Kitchen for lunch after they play.

"There's just so much to like about Woodstock," she said, "For example, how people celebrate those medical and emergency first-responders at 7 p.m. [each night] – cheering, and making noise – it's really inspiring."

Although born in Bangkok, Thailand, Princess Melyssa told us that one of the things she likes about her school "is the sense of diversity; as an Asian American, and as their representative to the Rose Festival, I'm looking forward to letting people know how accepting and diverse this school really is."

About the postponement of this year's Portland Rose Festival activities, the Princess remarked, "It's disappointing, because I've been looking forward to it for months now. But, I'm still getting to know the other Princesses through online meetings." Princess Melyssa plans to attend a four-year college in California, focusing on Computer Science or Creative writing, with a minor in Studio Art. That plan will be aided by the Rose Festival $3,500 scholarship provided by The Randall Group.

Stay in touch with how things are unfolding for this year's Portland Rose Festival by visiting their website – www.RoseFestival.org


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