Updated: Apr 16, 2022
Arcadia High School’s very own Swetha Somasundaram has been chosen as a 2021-2022 Rose Court Princess on the Rose Parade Royal Court. The Royal Court is an iconic tradition and holds the opportunity to discover opportunities to connect with and give back to the local community. As a princess in the first court after the pandemic, Swetha hopes to “inspire and be a role model to everyone watching her… especially during a time when they may be overwhelmed.”
Let’s go back to the moment when Swetha first found out she was going to be on the Royal Court. After many interviews in front of various panels, she had made it. Her first reaction was shock. She says she had envisioned it for a long time so it didn’t feel real for a second, until she realized: it was.
In an interview with Swetha, we asked her why she chose to try out for the Royal Court. She mentioned that as an individual of South Indian descent, she didn’t see a lot of her culture and heritage in public media as a young girl. Swetha alluded to this year’s theme and commented that it “represents something that [she holds] close to [her] heart: Education.” Swetha hopes to raise awareness about inequities in education, something she is particularly passionate about because of Wave Learning Festival, an organization Swetha gives her time to. Swetha also talks about the connections she has made with her six new best friends, the other Rose Court Princesses . “I cannot imagine not being able to send them a text detailing something exciting or even mundane about my life,” she says, expressing pure joy for her fellow court members.
A senior in concert orchestra, Swetha says she has always turned to dance and music as a form of communication. She comments on how being in orchestra since elementary school has always made her feel content being in a room making music with people, and never ceases to amaze her that she’s able to work so well with them. “Orchestra has helped me foster that communication and connection with people, and I believe it’s part of the reason I felt so confident walking into every interview,” says Swetha. “If I can collaborate with people I don’t know well to make coherently beautiful music, then I can speak to people I don’t know and share my perspective and my voice without fear.”
Because of the pandemic, Swetha is excited to be the hope and brightness for someone during a time when they may feel anxious or pressured. “We’ve heard from community members everywhere we go that we ‘inspire them’ and ‘give them hope for the future.’” Swetha says it makes her happy knowing that sharing her future plans and ambitions with the community can create so many smiles and hope.