Mya Brazile, a senior at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, beams after being named the 2019 Rose Festival queen. (Courtesy Portland Rose Festival Foundation)
Mya Brazile, a senior at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, beams after being named the 2019 Rose Festival queen. (Courtesy Portland Rose Festival Foundation)
St. Mary’s Academy senior Mya Brazile was crowned queen of the 2019 Portland Rose Festival Saturday, June 8, amid lively, loud cheers in Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Brazile said following the ceremony that she hopes to be a role model for young girls and to give back to her community.

“I believe the only way you can be the best community member is by knowing your community and the people that encompass it,” she’d said a few weeks earlier, after being named a member of the court.

According to the Rose Festival archives, it was the fifth time in the festival’s 111-year history that a student from the all-girls Catholic school received the distinction. The last St. Mary’s student to be crowned was Kristin Waldram in 1996.

“We are so thrilled to see such an incredible student crowned,” said Nicole Foran, principal of St. Mary’s. “Mya is a young woman of character and integrity who not only excels as a leader and athlete, but she is truly a friend to all. She has made such an impact on our St. Mary’s community and we know she will do the same for the Portland community and beyond.”

Brazile’s coronation was the culmination of a five-week selection process that brought the 15-member court to the opening night of City Fair, the St. Johns Parade, local retirement communities and the Ronald McDonald house.

Each princess received a $3,500 scholarship, opportunities for on-the-job experience in their chosen field, as well as the keepsake official wardrobe and accessories. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler praised the breadth of experience of all those who received the honor.

Brazile, who aims to become a computer scientist with skills in web design and coding, played basketball at St. Mary’s and was defensive player of the league for two years. She was a mentor and Black Student Union officer.

Reflecting on her high school career, Brazile said she was most proud of the relationships she’s built.

“My goal once I entered the St. Mary’s doors was to know the entire faculty, staff and my peers,” said the 18-year-old. “I can confidently say that I know all the staff and faculty who work in my school. It all started with a simple hello in the hallways.”

Brazile said her favorite Rose Festival event is the Starlight Parade. “It’s such a thrilling night — from the glowing floats to the marching bands and drill teams.”

But the best part, she said, "is hauling all of my belongings while my family and I scope out the perfect place to settle."

"It has to have enough room to fit a family of five, a cooler with plenty of snacks, plus enough room to draw with sidewalk chalk to decorate the pavement.”