Rose Queen Bella Ballard and her court cheered as Rose Parade rolls out into 2023

104th  Rose Queen Bella Ballard and her court roll along in the 134th Rose Parade on Monday. Photo: KTLA screenshot

PASADENA >> Keeping more than a century of tradition alive, Rose Parade attendees cheered 104th  Rose Queen Bella Ballard and her Royal Court on Monday, Jan. 2, as the 134th edition of the march set forth on its 5.5-mile journey.

Bella is a senior at The Ogburn School, a distance learning school, and lives in Altadena.

Related: This year’s Rose Court princesses include a drummer, a contortionist and a fan of vinyl records

She is currently a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities, a volunteer soccer coach with Chelsea Football Club, a soccer player at Santa Clara Blue Heat Football Club, West Coast Football Club, Venice Beach Football Club, a street soccer player and a tennis player at The Arroyo Seco and Flint Canyon Tennis Clubs.

Bella enjoys reading, calligraphy, collecting vinyl, playing chess and learning astronomy and astrophysics. She will be attending Yale in the fall and is interested in studying economics, law and astrophysics. Bella is the daughter of Joseph and Angela Ballard and has a sister, Samantha.

Related: Rose Parade 2023: Meet Bella Ballard, the 104th Rose Queen

Attending The Ogburn School offers her the flexibility she needs to be able to give to her community the way she wants, while still making a little time for other passions such as reading, calligraphy, collecting vinyl records, playing chess and learning about astronomy and astrophysics.

“I definitely represent that anything is possible,” she said of being the first Rose Queen selected to attend an online school.

She hopes viewers find inspiration in her story and the Royal Court, as well.

“This year’s Court is truly symbolic of not just this year’s parade theme, but the Tournament,” said Bella. “We come from such diverse backgrounds, but how we come together is truly inspiring and we hope to inspire others.”

The Rose Court, from left, Rose Princesses Salia Baligh, Sahanna Rajinikanthan, Michelle Cortez-Peralta, Rose Queen Bella Ballard, Zoë Denoncourt, Uma Wittenberg and Adrian Crick, poses during the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President’s Breakfast at the Pasadena Hilton on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

The 2023 Royal Court at a glance (information provided by the Tournament of Roses:

Salia Baligh is a senior at Alverno Heights Academy and lives in Pasadena. She is currently captain of the school basketball team, Senior Class secretary and treasurer, president of the ASL Club, an Alverno Ambassador, vice president of the Fashion Club, member of the Social Justice Club, member of the Science Club, member of Bake a Change Charity and a track and field athlete. Salia enjoys photography, volunteering, sports and painting.

Growing up with hearing loss and once living in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Salia plans to study medicine with a focus on sports or ear, nose and throat and is interested in attending UCLA, USC, Stanford, UC Berkley, Cal Lutheran or a Cal State University. Salia is the daughter of Samer Baligh and Dalia Abougharbia and has a brother, Samer, and two sisters, Sahara and Sabrina.

Michelle Cortez-Peralta is a senior at Pasadena High School and lives in Pasadena. She is currently president and founder of the Girls Learning Internal (GLI) Club, Student Board representative, a member of the California Scholarship Federation, TRIO Upward Bound at Cal State Los Angeles, co-captain of the girls varsity tennis team and a member of the baking club, tutoring club and the Creative Arts Media and Design Academy at her high school. Michelle enjoys hand embroidery, reading, graphic design, volunteering, advocating for women’s rights, and spending time with family and friends. She plans to study civil or environmental engineering and is interested in attending USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or Stanford. Michelle is the daughter of Antonio Cortez and Bertha Peralta and has a brother, Daniel.

RELATED: 2023 Rose Parade lineup: Your guide to every float, every band, every horse unit, in order

Adrian Crick is a senior at Sequoyah School and lives in Altadena. She is currently president of the Sequoyah High School STEM Institute; teen volunteer at the Altadena Library; band leader, drummer and pianist in the Gryphon Ensemble; serves as an Admissions Ambassador and grade representative at Sequoyah; and is a teen member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Adrian feeds her insatiable curiosity by gardening, cooking, learning new instruments, photographing my world, hiking, sewing, playing tennis and training her dog. She plans to study the intersection of business, technology and media, and is in the process of deciding where she will pursue her studies and continue to feed her curiosity. Adrian is the daughter of Ian Crick and Windy Watson-Crick and has a younger sister, Ava.

Zoë Denoncourt is a senior at Marshall Fundamental and lives in Pasadena. She is currently president of the French Club, vice president of Yoga Club, secretary of Orienteering Club, treasurer of her softball team and plays powderpuff and softball. Zoë enjoys running, drawing, sports and volunteering. She plans to study business, law or international studies and is in the process of deciding which college or university she will attend. Zoë is the daughter of Daniel and Gwenn-Aël Denoncourt and has a sister, Uma.

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Sahanna Rajinikanthan is a senior at Arcadia High School and lives in Arcadia. She is currently president of the Chemistry Club, lead programmer and builder on the Vex Robotics Team, information desk leader at USC Hospital, volunteer at Women’s Shelter in Los Angeles, library volunteer, tutor at the Pasadena Boys and Girls Club, an assistant singing teacher at the non-profit organization Araneri and involved in swimming. Sahanna enjoys reading, dancing, singing and piano. She plans to study electrical engineering and is interested in attending Cal Tech, a University of California or California State University. Sahanna is the daughter of Rajinikanthan Seshadri and Geetha Rajinikanthan and has a younger brother, Rishab Raaj.

Uma Wittenberg is a senior at La Cañada High School and lives in La Cañada. She is currently a princess on the 2022 Miss La Cañada Flintridge Royal Court, member of the Les Fleurettes Debutante program, senior class treasurer, member of the Teens Advancement for Children’s Hospital (TACH) Club, member of the theater program, member of the California Scholarship Federation and Nation Honors Society and takes weekly tennis lessons at the La Cañada Country Club. Uma enjoys playing tennis, photography and cooking. She plans to study business, marketing, economics or finance and is interested in attending New York University, Columbia University, Barnard College, Boston University, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara or UCLA. Uma is the daughter of Mark and Vanesa Wittenberg and has a sister, Mila.


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