Story By Claudia S. Palma
This time last year, Drew Washington was keeping up with her duties as the 94th Rose Queen for the 2012 Tournament of Roses. Now, the 18-year-old is majoring in sports management at New York University in New York City, running with the track and field team at the college and interning at HBO.
Washington, a freshman at the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, is focused on her major with an emphasis on sports law.
Her academic achievement and community service thus far has garnered her a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar award and a spot in the Emma L. Bowen Foundation’s four-year work/study internship program for minority students interested in careers in the media industry, which also helps pay a portion of her tuition.
During her reign, Washington took part in more than 150 community events in the span of a few months, including meeting with elementary and middle school students, visiting patients at Children’s Hospital and the City of Hope, meeting with seniors at the Pasadena Senior Center and the Royal Oaks Senior Living Community, participating in Kaiser Permanente’s “Family Day” as well as speaking at Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs functions and a host of other charitable and non-profit organizations.
She described the rush of activity as a long, and sometimes hard year, but it was a rewarding experience. Washington has plenty of advice for the 2013 Rose Queen Vanessa Manjarrez.
She should “remain who she is, remain true to herself. And, honestly, just to have a great time,” Washington said.
“She’s going to meet some of the most amazing people she’ll ever meet and have some of the best experiences of her life. Just soak it all in, live in the moment and know that this year goes by very fast, so live it all up.”
Washington experienced the announcement of the new Queen from a different perspective at the Tournament House on Oct. 16. She greeted the new Queen — “I’m sure (Vanessa) is just overwhelmed with joy, (and) can’t even contain her smile” — and also showed support for Princess Victoria McGregor, who attends Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Washington’s alma mater.
Washington’s everyday life in New York is markedly different from what she is used to.
“New York is a crazy city, it’s much different than L.A.,” she said. “It’s a lot more fast-paced, but it’s great. I love that it’s the city that never sleeps. I’m walking everywhere so I’m getting my exercise.”
But “I miss my car; I miss the people. And I miss the sunshine. It’s getting pretty cold back in New York.”
Washington hopes to continue on to law school and go into entertainment law.
“Hopefully I’ll be representing a professional sports team,” Washington said of her future plans. “Other than that, I’m kind of living in the moment and taking in all the experiences that I can.”