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Where EAST meets the Northwest

Michaela Canete. (Photo/Prince Charming Photography)


ETHNIC PRIDE & COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS. Michaela Canete is seen with her family (clockwise from top left ó Michaela, mother Eleanor, father Larry, sister Krystella Charmaine, and brother Bryce) in a photo taken during a family Christmas gathering. Canete is representing Century High School as its 2017 Rose Festival princess. The Portland Rose Festivalís Queenís Coronation takes place Saturday, June 10 at Portlandís Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Photo courtesy of Michaela Canete)

From The Asian Reporter, V27, #9 (May 1, 2017), page 9.

Supportive community, pride in heritage inspire Metro West Princess

By Maileen Hamto

The Asian Reporter

Michaela Canete holds the distinction of being the first Metro West Princess to represent both Century High School and the City of Hillsboro on the Rose Festival Court. Earning the princess crown out of the competitive roster of talented young women from Washington County high schools, Michaela remains humble and grounded.

"Itís a wonderful opportunity to tell the Portland area about Century High School and the Hillsboro community," she said. "Iím grateful for the encouragement and support of the community."

Michaela, who was born in Mandaluyong, near the Philippine capital of Manila, immigrated with her family to the United States when she was seven years old. The transition hasnít always been easy, but she learned much from the challenges of acculturating to her adopted home. Michaela said she feels grateful to be part of the supportive Filipino-American family and community in the area.

"As a Filipina growing up in the U.S., I have been bullied," Michaela says. "There have been instances when the color of my skin has affected the way people look at me. As time went by, I developed a support system, and embraced my culture."

Establishing roots in Washington County, the Canetes have maintained a deep sense of ethnic pride as well as strong connections to the local community. Michaela is not only active in her school, but has also served as a City of Hillsboro intern and a member of the cityís Youth Advisory Council.

"Hillsboroís community slogan is ĎGrow great things,í" she said. "I am most proud of the sense of welcome in this community, particularly for its diverse population. Itís a community where people want to come and stay."

"While I see myself travelling in the future," she said. "Hillsboro will always be home. It will always provide safety and a sense of community."

Travelling back to the Philippines in 2013 has opened Michaelaís eyes to the reality of poverty and lack of access among Filipinos in the homeland.

"Everything has changed. The poverty level has increased," she said. "A little boy came to the car as we were sitting in traffic. He was asking for money. I donít think any kid should ever have to beg for money on the street because they donít have food."

"One of the things I want to do later in life is to help the Philippines and assist any way I can to decrease poverty and help children further their education."

One of Michaelaís more immediate goals involve attending Oregon State University to pursue her studies in the health and sciences field. She is inspired by the work of biomedical researchers, particularly those who work on investigating cures for childhood cancer.

At Oregon State, she plans to double major in biochemistry and education. "I love science and I have also always had the passion to teach and work directly with children," she said.

Beyond her community leadership and science acumen, Michaela also is co-captain of the Century High School dance team. She started out on the cheer squad during her freshman and sophomore years, but suffered a concussion. The dance team welcomed the talented and energetic Michaela with open arms.

"Dance is an amazing sport. We work really hard," she said. "And we have great fun."

During last fallís assembly, Michaela developed and led a routine that involved Century football players and cheerleaders. "It was fun to see this 6í3" linebacker performing a dance routine, in front of the entire school. Everyone loved it."

Michaela said she is honored to bring her energy and creativity to the collection of young women comprising the Rose Festival court. Thus far, she credits "princess training" for focusing on communication, networking, time management, and other key life and professional skills.

"The Rose Festival lives up to its theme: Brilliant," she said. "The other princesses are like sisters to me now. The directors, advisers, and volunteers are simply brilliant because of all the hard work they put in. I am truly grateful."

A Rose Festival princess represents her school and acts as the "face of the Rose Festival" at many events in the community, including parades, volunteer activities, luncheons with community and business leaders, and more. The Portland Rose Festival Foundation awards each court member a $3,500 scholarship, courtesy of The Randall Group.

To qualify for the Rose Festival Court, a candidate must be a full-time junior or senior at a 4A, 5A,

or 6A high school in Multnomah, Washington, or Clackamas county and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Potential princesses are evaluated on citizenship, scholastic achievement, school activities, civic involvement, volunteer projects, communication skills, and overall impression.

The Portland Rose Festival Queen is chosen from all of the court members at Portlandís Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, June 10 from 8:30am to 9:30am. To learn more, call (503) 227-2681 or visit <>.

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