New Rose Queen cries ‘tears of joy’

PASADENA, Calif. (News4usonline) – When the formal announcement was read, Naomi Stillitano burst into tears. Afterward, the Arcadia High senior was still pinching herself on being named the 105th Rose Queen for the 2024 Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

“I’m full of emotions,” Stillitano said about what that moment felt like. “I’m happy. I’m crying tears of joy. It’s an honor.” 

Stillitano, along with the rest of the Royal Court took part in the annual ceremony of selecting the Rose Queen at the Tournament House on Oct. 27. 

Members of the 2024 Royal Court from left to right: Emmerson Tucker, Blair High School; Olivia Bohanec, La Salle College Preparatory; Phoebe Ho, South Pasadena High School; 2024 Rose Queen Naomi Stillitano, Arcadia High School; Mia Moore-Walker, Flintridge Preparatory School; Trinity Dela Cruz, Marshall Fundamental School; Jessica Powell, Flintridge Preparatory School. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Surrounded by well-wishers and family members, Stillitano, Blair High standout Emmerson Tucker,  Olivia Bohanec of La Salle College Preparatory, Phoebe Ho of South Pasadena High School, Flintridge Preparatory student Mia Moore-Walker, Trinity Dela Cruz of Marshall Fundamental School, and Jessica Powell of Flintridge Preparatory School made their way to the steps of the Tournament House for the announcement. 

Tournament of Roses President Alex Aghajanian (2024) then made the announcement that Stillitano had been selected for the prestigious honor of being named the Rose Queen. 

“I’m so excited to rule Pasadena with these six amazing girls for such leaders,” Stillitano remarked. “We all have leadership qualities and that’s why we’re on this court.” 

Stillitano went on to talk about what it’s been like collaborating and working alongside the other young women on the Royal Court.

“On the second day, we all bonded,” Stillitano said. “We went straight to Disneyland from three in the morning, and we were all…we all became sisters really fast. I’m so happy that they’re on this court, and there’s a reason why they are.” 

Like the rest of the Royal Court, Stillitano is expected to serve as an ambassador for the Tournament of Roses, making appearances at community and charitable functions. Stillitano and the other members of the Royal Court will all receive a $7,500 educational scholarship from the Tournament of Roses. 

Stillitano has proven herself to be an exceptional student at Arcadia. She is the co-president of the Italian Culture Club, a swimmer on the Rose Bowl Swim Team, and shows off her acting and dancing qualities with the Arcadia Stage Theater. She has ambitions to create her own fashion brand. 

Stillitano said she’s looking forward to serving as an ambassador for the Tournament of Roses.   

“I’m really happy to be an inspiration for young girls,” she said. “I’m excited to go volunteer, and help out with all these girls.”