• Photo Gallery: Vanessa Manjarrez of Mayfield Senior School 2013 Rose Queen
  • Photo Gallery: Past Pasadena Rose Parade Queens


    PASADENA - Vanessa Natalie Manjarrez is an animal lover, an avid community volunteer and a 12th-grader at Mayfield Senior School.

    And now, the petite 17-year-old born and raised in Pasadena is the 2013 Rose Queen.

    Rose Queen 2013
    Vanessa Marjarrez, left, finding out she has been name 2013 Rose Queen, with Royal Court members Madison Teodo, and Sonia Shenoi. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses named Vanessa Natalie Manjarrez , as the 95th Rose Queen Tuesday, October 16, 2012. Vanessa Manjarrez, 17, is a student at Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena. The Rose Queen and Royal Curt will reign over the 2013 Tournament of Roses festivities, culminating in the 124th Rose Parade, themed "Oh, the Places You'll Go! an the 99th Rose Bowl game.(SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity) (WALT MANCINI)

    "To me, it means I get to do my part to give back to the community that has really been there for me since I was born," Manjarrez, an only child, said after Tuesday's announcement on the Tournament House lawn.

    Manjarrez said she's most inspired by her parents, Maria Sarry, who was also raised in Pasadena and attended Mayfield Senior School, and Armando Manjarrez, who emigrated from Mexico City to Pasadena as a young adult.

    Her parents own Language Systems, a network of five schools that teach English as a second language in the Los Angeles area. Her father is president of the company while her mother, a teacher whose parents came from Spain, said she's retired to take care of Vanessa and her active lifestyle full-time.


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    "They work really hard at everything they do and they've instilled that in me," Manjarrez, who serves on her all-girls Catholic school's Diversity Committee and Advising Council, said of her parents.

    Sarry described her daughter as a passionate volunteer, a resilient optimist and an animal lover who works with cats, bunnies and some wildlife at the Pasadena Humane Society. The Manjarrez family has two indoor cats, four outdoor feral cats that are spayed and neutered and three dogs, her mother said.

    Manjarrez has also volunteered with the National Charity League, the Pasadena Senior Center and and Villa Esperanza.

    The new queen doesn't know yet what career she'd like to pursue but she hopes to study business and science in college and is particularly interested in stem cell research and genetics, TofR officials said.

    Manjarrez was selected over six other princesses to be the 95th Rose Queen for the annual Tournament of Roses festivities. It was her strong leadership skills and "exuberant personality" that made her most stand out, said Joan Madsen, a director of the Tournament of Roses Association board and chair of Queen and Court.

    "She's a true leader," Madsen said after the announcement. "She can rally the court together. ... When you have seven young ladies, you need someone who will get them together and be the point person for them and she's truly that."

    Manjarrez and her Royal Court will reign over the 2013 Tournament of Roses festivities, which will culminate in the 124th Rose Parade themed "Oh, the Places You'll Go" and the 99th Rose Bowl Game. Renowned primatologist and humanitarian Jane Goodall will preside as the Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal this year.

    "I'm so honored; it's such a blessing to be here with these other six incredible girls," Manjarrez said of the princesses on her Royal Court "They're all so loving. We've all become such great friends. ... It truly is a sisterhood."

    The Royal Court also includes Madison Teodo, 17, of La Ca ada Flintridge High School; Sonia Shenoi, 17, of San Marino High School; Kate Benuska, 17, of Maranatha High School; Nicole Nelam, 17 of Pasadena High School; Tracy Cresta, 17, of La Salle High School and Victoria McGregor, 17 of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

    Manjarrez also hopes to gain a better sense of who she is and to become a better person as Rose Queen, she said.

    While she admitted she sometimes gets nervous with public speaking, "I think through this process it will all go away and it will make things much easier for the future," she said. 

    2012 Rose Queen Drew Washington, who is currently a freshman at NYU's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, congratulated Manjarrez and the Royal Court on Tuesday and expressed her gratitude for the experiences she's had in her role.

    "The love and support I felt from my family and friends is especially something I wish every woman can experience," Washington said.

    brenda.gazzar@sgvn.com

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