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No less than FOUR Rose Fest Princesses live in BEE country this year -- but there's no Rose Festival for them...

COURTESY PORTLAND ROSE FESTIVAL ASSN. - An Eastmoreland resident, and this years Rose Festival Princess for St. Marys Academy, Grace Gentner is the fourth Princess this year living in Inner Southeast. Amazingly, four of the 2020 Portland Rose Festival Princesses live in the Inner Southeast area served by THE BEE.

In addition to Franklin High Princess Doré Young, and Cleveland High Princess Zoey Weesner, THE BEE was alerted that Central Catholic High School's Princess Melyssa Okazaki lives in Woodstock, and we profiled her last month.

And that led to our being informed that a fourth area Rose Festival Princess is a resident of Eastmoreland – Princess Grace Gentner, who represents St. Mary's Academy.

Princess Grace said she's also a proud graduate of Holy Family Catholic School.

"One of my favorite things about growing up in Eastmoreland is that there are so many stores and restaurants nearby," she told THE BEE. "When I was in elementary school, the small grocery store in Eastmoreland was on the way to Duniway. I remember being overjoyed whenever I got the chance to go in after school, and pick a treat!"

On Saturdays, her mom would walk her and her brother west on Bybee Boulevard to the Westmoreland Starbucks for a snack, before playing in Westmoreland Park, Princess Grace recalled.

As a member of St. Mary's golf team – she placed second in Junior Varsity – being near the Eastmoreland Golf Course was what helped her learn the game. "I enjoy the challenge of that course – whether it's the twisting fairways, the lengthy water hazards, or the tricky greens, there is always something to push you at every hole."

One of her earliest significant recollections of the Portland Rose Festival was when her mom took the family to see the floats being constructed before the parade. "I remember walking around the warehouse, staring in amazement at all the tiny little seeds and beans that made up the intricate figures depicted on the floats; I thought it was incredibly cool, and I still do," Princess Grace reminisced.

Becoming a Portland Rose Festival Princess was a dream of hers since she was a little girl, she confided to us. "And once I learned more about all the incredible programs and service opportunities, I knew the effort of applying would be well worth my time, and began meeting all the St. Mary's Academy alums who help with the Rose Festival, which only increased my interest and trust in the program."

Regardless of how this year's Portland Rose Festival plays out – if, indeed, there actually is one – Princess Grace commented, "I cannot wait to gain another sisterhood – to gain another group of incredibly motivated and passionate young women, who will provide me with even more strength and encouragement, as well as many new friends."

She's adjusting to the "new normal" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she reported. "I've continued online classes most weekdays, which helped keep things fairly normal for me. I've been using my additional free time to read and craft. And, I have been able to keep in contact with both my friends and the Rose Festival Court through ZOOM online meetings – seeing everyone's smiles always brightens my day!"

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