Maggie B: A Rose from Portland’s Garden

She is beauty, She is grace. She is Portland’s Rose festival princess. Since 1907, Portland has celebrated 13 extraordinary women from a diverse array of high schools, to create a court of representatives for the city of Portland. What began as a huge affair in which every single senior girl from participating high schools had to audition, the court has become much more competitive and limited to juniors and senior girls who excel in a variety of areas such as academics and extracurriculars. Every year, the Rose Court requires these girls to go through a rigorous application process that is designed to glean the best of the best. And this year Maggie Beutler emerged from Wilson’s competition victorious.

When Beutler decided to run for Rose Court, it was not a spur of the moment decision. Since her freshman year, she has looked on as upperclassmen competed for the coveted spot to represent their school. “I saw the first Rose Court assembly, and I figured I really really want to do that, and I can do that.”And each year, she waited for her chance to be in their spot. This year had been her chance to meet some wonderful new people and make memories she would never forget, and she took it. And with a killer speech and long and impressive resume, she won the hearts of the judges and Wilson High, joining the select group of brilliant princesses who came before her.

But it’s not only the winners Beutler’s interested in. Every year she was adamant to do one thing: learn every participant’s name. For Beutler, the people who didn’t win matter just as much, if not even more, than the winner. “I always think that’s really important to remember not only the people who won, but who ran [as well], because [the Rose Court] is about everyone” she said. This is a huge feat, considering most people often only focus on the winner: Not due to harsh intentions, but because it it is the star that most often catches their eye.

Although Beutler had the chance to run her junior year, she says senior year was the better time. “I didn’t really know what to do with my time left here at Wilson, and I thought to myself, “What more is there?” And when Rose Court came along, I knew that was something to strive for and look forward to.” But she credits the Rose Court for more than just an opportunity to excel. “It kind of gave me my spark back [after the initial senior slump] and helped me feel like myself again.” Not only had the court revamped her motivation, but it had transferred to other parts of her life as well, helping her succeed in multiple ways. There was a new found drive in Beutler, one that was very apparent in her tennis matches and volunteering efforts. And to her, that was the sweetest part of the deal.

Another factor that contributed to her happiness in becoming a princess was the diversity of the Court. This year’s princesses were one of the most unique, showcasing Oregon’s diverse population properly for the first time. As an Asian American and Person of Color, this was something that was very important to her. “We chose to run because we didn’t see role models or any representation of ourselves. We had to be trailblazers”, she said. Not only would these young women be those role models for themselves, but for all the little girls who came after them. They all push each other to be successful, supportive and loving of one another,proving Beutler’s statement that “Victory wasn’t because of our race or color, [but] because of our hard work, determination, and courage.”

But her point speaks for itself. Beutler’s drive is obvious from the moment you meet her. She is involved in many extracurricular activities, most notably Discovery Theatre, a program her friend created for kids in the foster care system. She’s also passionate about photography and theatre in general, often writing and directing as a young professional at the Oregon Children’s Theatre. Also a Peer Counselor and one of the senior captains for Women’s Varsity Tennis, Beutler had her hands full juggling these activities and a rigorous academic schedule.

Yet every princess on the court this year holds a similar resume: a demanding schedule, multiple extracurriculars, and sports. But that is not all. Beutler and all the princesses this year have a shine from within, each eager to leave her mark on the world and leave it a better place. And that is what makes them all extremely special.

Words and photo by Ihsaan Mohamed