Maggie B: A Rose from Portland’s Garden

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

University Options

University Options

The time has come for seniors to start thinking about going off to university. Wherever they are with applications, the thought looms large in their minds. For some, it just seems like another four years of school, but for others it is like embarking into completely unknown territory. No matter where you stand, most of us can agree that the prospect of leaving behind our friends and family is a scary one. I believe that the scariest part about heading off to university is also the best part.

One of the most challenging aspects of university is being on your own without anyone helping you or reminding you to do your work. The weight of independence suddenly thrust upon your shoulders is really difficult at first and can seem to weigh tenfold when there aren’t any familiar faces around. As hard as it is to leave behind all your friends, and as nerve-wracking as it is to go to a place where you know nobody, ultimately you will to push yourself outside of that comfort zone you’ve spent years cultivating.

Teacher Joshua Winicki grew up in Colorado, but moved to California to go to UC Berkeley. Winicki went to university not knowing anybody and, in doing so, got to know himself better. “ The thing about going to a place where you don’t really know that many people is you figure out kind of who you are,” said Winicki.

In high school most of your decisions are subject to some kind of influence or bias; especially from your friends. “ Other people put on to you what they want from you, When you are true to yourself and not taking in all this input from other people, you can go the course you’re intended to go,” said teacher Frank Mathews. Mathews also went to university alone, attending University of Wisconsin. When you go to university without your friends you are free to make choices that are unaffected by the judgemental ambiance that is so prevalent in high school. The thing about going to university with your friends is that, even though you aren’t at high school anymore, that same looming atmosphere of high school lives on through being in your friend group.

Forming your own opinions and stances on things, whatever subjects they are on, is all part of growing up. When you’re with your same group of friends from high school, you never break free from the group norm and think for yourself. Take Mathews’ experience, he grew up in a conservative Illinois household, but going off to university allowed him the space to form his own moderate opinion. Being able to form your own opinions and arguing for them is a monumental part of life, and university is a perfect place to explore on what you believe in. Surrounding yourself with the same people from high school takes away from that independent level of thought and you end up never changing your outlook on life. According to counselor Kelly Milford, “[you] rely on who you’ve always been when you’re around people you’ve always known.”

Besides just leaving behind your high school friends, another important part of university is making new ones. “ I chose my friends. It wasn’t just because we were in the same situation. There were like 50,000 students so you chose the ones that you relate to the most,” said Mathews. Being able to choose your friends is an invaluable part about university. Where, the people you hang out with are no longer dictated by geography or similar situations. You will find yourself being drawn towards people who you share common passions with, and those who share your interests and views will gravitate toward you. You end up surrounding yourself with people who like you because of who you are, not for the mask you used to put on everyday in high school.

Picking your friends might be challenging at first, but according to Winicki, there is one important thing to remember: “ No one knows you… so you get to know yourself better by meeting a bunch of people.” An important part about finding new friends is that you have to step outside of your comfort zone to find them. If you just stay with the same people from high school, you will never allow yourself room for improvement; it’s like you remain tied to high school.

Many think that finding new friends is one of the hardest parts about going to university alone, but if you play your cards right, it won’t be nearly as difficult as you think. The act of finding new friends can potentially help you grow as a person. When Mathews was at University of Wisconsin, he tried numerous new activities that were outside his comfort zone in order to find new friends. After about a month, Mathews found himself feeling comfortable because he put himself out there and did activities, such as skiing, hiking club, and sailing, he wouldn’t have thought to do if he was still with all his friends.

Making new friends and being in a different group from your high school friends is also beneficial to your self-awareness. “ There are some things that you might not like about yourself that you might want to change, and if you go [to university] with a bunch of people you know, it’s going to be harder to do,” said Winicki. When you stay in your same friends group, you are less likely to branch out or change your behavior. By staying with the same people from high school you are disabling your ability to find room for improvement.

The payoff of going off without your friends can help you throughout your life not just at university. A large part of university for Mathews was constantly being outside of his comfort zone and because of this he felt free to do things he wouldn’t have done otherwise. Mathews tried skiing for the first time in university and he joined an art history class, knowing nothing about the subject prior to joining. Despite this, he found success in the class and was even the lead in the play the class put on at the end of the semester. Outside of university, Mathews found it easier to acclimate to new environments and meet people. Immediately after graduating from Wisconsin, Mathews moved to Taiwan to teach; something he wouldn’t have had the courage to do otherwise. After a number of years in Taiwan, he moved to Portland. In Portland Mathews worked at Reynolds High School, before finally transferring to Wilson. Mathews states that meeting new people and adapting to a new environment has been much easier due to his experience at Wisconsin. Not staying in the same bubble of friends after high school made it easier for Mathews to do things like travel over 7,000 miles to teach in Taiwan or simply move between schools in the same city. “ If you’re hanging out with your comfortable friends all the time you, sometimes you don’t take risks,” said Mathews.

When you first go to university, it is natural to feel outside of your comfort zone, and though it may be difficult, I encourage you to remember that this too shall pass and you will acclimatize to your new surroundings and, along the way, meet lifelong friends and have great experiences you’ll never forget. I’m not saying that you should completely cut ties with your friends from high school, but a little distance can’t hurt you. Don’t be afraid to let go of the life you’ve always known at Wilson and embrace this experience, knowing that it will prove prosperous in the years to come.

Words and Photo by Aidan Ormond