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Where EAST meets the Northwest

SELF-MOTIVATED & DRIVEN. The 2018 Portland Rose Festival princess representing Parkrose High School is Kiara Johnson. Balancing work, academics, extra-curriculars, and friendships is not always easy, but Kiara is focused on whatís important in the long run. (Photo/Brian Geraths/Photo Media Productions)

Rose Festival princess Kiara Johnson (left) poses for a photo with a few members of her family (L-R): younger sister Emia held by mother Stephanie, auntie Norilyn, and older sister Selena. The Portland Rose Festivalís Queenís Coronation takes place Saturday, June 9 at Portlandís Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Photo courtesy of Kiara Johnson)

From The Asian Reporter, V28, #11 (June 4, 2018), pages 10-11.

Time management key to success for Parkrose princess

By Maileen Hamto

The Asian Reporter

Senior year in high school is a time of drastic change ó from finishing up course requirements to preparing for college. For Parkrose Rose Court princess Kiara Johnson, extra-curricular activities, a part-time job, and her princess duties all add to the challenge of managing an already-busy schedule.

Kiara is grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Rose Festival Court and appreciates all the enriching experiences. Moreover, she is thankful for the chance to put into practice her excellent time management skills.

Kiara is proud to maintain a 3.9 grade point average while also playing varsity volleyball and track & field. She serves as the sports editor of her school paper, The Bronco Blaze, and is part of mock trial and "We The People" Constitution teams.

With her part-time job as a Postmates driver, she helps her familyís household income. Kiaraís father works two jobs to support their family of seven, while her mother babysits for extra money.

"For some high school students, it may be more of a choice to work. But if I donít work, then we wonít have money to buy food, because my family does struggle," she said.

Balancing work, academics, extra-curriculars, and friendships is not always easy, but Kiara is focused on whatís important in the long run.

"I try to keep work and school as my top priorities," she said. "I make it clear to my friends that Iím busy. If certain friendships donít work out because I canít hang out as much, then I think that truthfully, I canít have those friends in my life."

Self-motivated and driven, Kiara said she values lessons from her late grandmother Masako, who emphasized the virtues of reflection, patience, and calm.

"She taught me how to have control over my attitude and my emotions," Kiara said. "I was never a hothead or disrespectful, but I tended to talk a bit too dramatic when I was upset. My grandmother showed me to be more calm and accepting."

Being mixed race of Asian Pacific Islander ancestry, Kiara understands full well the importance of being secure in oneís identity and heritage and appreciates diversity in her own upbringing.

"Iím really proud of the unique mixed race. Mom is half Filipino and my dad is half Japanese," she explained. "Being mixed race helps me to understand my privilege and helps me to understand different people, especially the diversity of Parkrose and Portland."

At Parkrose, she celebrates her Asian Pacific Islander heritage with other mixed-race Asians and Pacific Islanders.

"We share and joke about similar experiences we have with our families," she said. "I grew up with my Japanese grandmother in the household, where rice is always cooking and we have to take our shoes off before entering the house."

Kiara shared that her most recent indulgence in culture was getting a tattoo of the sun present on the Philippine national flag.

"I got the tattoo in honor of my mother and my lola (grandmother). Iím just really proud of how hard both my immigrant grandmothers have worked to give my parents an easier time here in the states," she said.

In representing northeast Portland, Kiara is honored to serve as an ambassador for the resilience and resourcefulness embodied by her Parkrose community.

"Parkrose is such an amazing school filled with bright students who often donít have the resources to fulfill their potential," she said.

"People here genuinely care about each other. It shows through interactions that we have in the hallways, the support that people receive during school assemblies. We take the family aspect seriously, and at the end of the day, we want to see each other succeed."

* * *

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 9 from 8:30am to 9:30am. To learn more, call (503) 227-2681 or visit <www.rosefestival.org>.

* * *

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