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Arcadia High Senior Is Rose Queen

October 21, 1998|RICHARD WINTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

She's tall, she's blond, she's smart--and now that she's royalty, Christina Leanne Farrell won't have to walk.

The 17-year-old senior was named the 81st Rose Queen on Tuesday and will reign over the last Rose Parade of the 20th century atop a float.

Last year, Farrell walked the parade in the Arcadia High School marching band.

"I'm just really shocked. It's so overwhelming," said Farrell, a National Honor Society member. "I first decided I wanted to be queen when I was 5."

As Tournament of Roses President Dick Ratliff made the announcement, Farrell cupped her hands to her face and six princesses smothered her with congratulatory hugs.

An international press corps captured the scene: a tangle of coiffed hair, pearl-white smiles and purple gabardine dresses.

Farrell plans to study history and become an attorney. She plays varsity volleyball and helps the charity Famous Fone Friends, arranging telephone calls from celebrities to hospitalized children.

She also leads the percussionists in the 315-student Arcadia Apaches Marching Band and knows more than a few potholes along the 5.5-mile parade route, which stretches from Colorado and Orange Grove to Sierra Madre Avenue.

The Apaches made the long march in their cardinal uniforms in January. This time, her arms will get the workout, giving the royal wave.

From now until New Year's Day's 110th Rose Parade, Farrell will make at least 120 appearances as queen.

On parade day, she will be seen by a million people along the route and 425 million watching on televisions around the world.

Farrell was among 800 high school and college students from the Pasadena area who applied for the royal court.

"We expected her to get through a few rounds. She's a special girl," said her father, Keith Farrell. "But we didn't expect her to get this far."

The other princesses are Dana Ford, 18, of Sierra Madre; Yvonne Bisgaard, 18, of La Canada Flintridge; Sophie Soong, 17, of South Pasadena; Cristina Wucetich, 17, of San Marino; and Chaitali Gala and Olivia Wilson, both 17 and from Arcadia.

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