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Meet Cleveland's Rose Festival Princess: Biftu Amin

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Last month we reported on Franklin High's choice; here's this year's Princess for Cleveland High!

DAVID F. ASHTON - Heres 2017 Portland Rose Festival Cleveland High School Princess Biftu Amin.On Friday, March 17, students turned out for the assembly to reveal who would represent Cleveland High School (CHS) at the 2017 Portland Rose Festival.

As the students and staff were filing into the auditorium, CHS Principal Tammy O'Neill smiled, "Our court this year is a group of strong, dynamic young women. Once again, I'm so proud of the leadership opportunity that this event offers them.

"The competition is about service and academics," O'Neill pointed out. "Their commitment to their community, and how each of these women focuses on making the world a better place in which to live, is wonderful."

Members of this year's CHS Rose Festival Court – Biftu Amin, Megan Millan, Sydney Toops, and Abbey Wilusz – were welcomed to the stage.

After the introductions, 2016's Cleveland Princess, Katlyn Gaines, addressed the assembly.

"Good afternoon Warriors!" she began. "As I look back on my year as Rose Festival Princess, I cannot help but be filled with emotion. It was a period of a lifetime, and I couldn't have been happier to experience it!"

Turning the new CHS Court, Gaines declared, "Remember this feeling you are having at this very moment. Know that the Cleveland community respects each and every one of you so much. It takes immense amount of courage to come on stage and do what all four of you've done so far, and with such grace."

Then, Princess Katlyn announced her successor for this year's Rose Festival – 18-year-old CHS senior Biftu Amin.

"Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for selecting me to represent our school," Princess Biftu exclaimed to the audience, who were still applauding her selection. "It means the world to me that I was chosen to represent Cleveland High School."

Shortly afterward, in her first interview in her new role, Princess Biftu told THE BEE that, although she was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she was actually a "local girl" – having been educated at Grout Elementary School and Hosford Middle School, before embarking on her four years at CHS.

When she heard her name spoken, Princess Biftu said she felt excited, anxious, happy, and honored, all at the same time. "All of the Court members were very deserving of this, so I feel so honored to be representing them and my community.

"I want to be an inspiration to every woman out there, and especially women of color, who may look up to me now," Princess Biftu added. "I'm really honored to be in this position, and to have the honor of representing Cleveland High in my city."

A $3,500 scholarship provided by The Randall Group will help Princess Biftu realize her ambitions of attending college to study pre-law and business.

You can cheer on Princess Biftu at the Portland Rose Festival Queen's Coronation on June 10 at 8:30 a.m., in Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, just before the beginning of the Grand Floral parade.

And, to learn more about the Portland Rose Festival, visit their official website: www.rosefestival.org