October 6, 2022

Pamplin Media Group – Rose Festival Queen Senya Scott eyes politics, journalism career

Read Time:6 Minute, 19 Second


Her resume includes ‘Hot Tea with Senya’ program and a role on the Wells High School name change committee.

COURTESY PHOTO: ROSE FESTIVAL - Senya Scott was crowned Rose Festival queen at a ceremony June 10, and rode in the Grand Floral Parade the next day, realizing a childhood dream.Politics might be in Senya Scott’s future.

If not, it could be journalism or broadcasting. Either way, she’ll be doing some communication, messaging and convincing of some sort, it appears, which just continues the path already started by the Wells High School senior.

She attended a workshop hosted by The Oregonian, and the speaker had studied political science and then went into journalism. It convinced Scott that it could be the right way to go in her career.

“There would be more avenues. Maybe I’d go into law,” she said, of studying political science. “I would love to be some sort of political leader … I would love to be in politics.”

Politics or journalism, Scott has a good head start. At Wells, she hosted a magazine news program called “Hot Tea with Senya,” sang in the school choir and also participated on the committee that changed the name from Wilson High School to Ida B. Wells High School.

Oh, and recently she was honored by being named Rose Festival queen, a thrilling goal reached and quite a position of status in her 18-year-old life.

She’ll make a very good queen moving forward, even as she attends Howard University in Washington, D.C.

“This is really a childhood thing for me, ever since my family moved here in 2015 — I was 12 years old then — we went to the Grand Floral Parade,” said Scott, who was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and now lives in Southwest Portland. “I was so focused on the parade, that I remember my sisters chatting the whole time. I couldn’t take my eyes off the floats, I was enamored with the queen and the court. It was so interesting and regal and fun.”

After a crowning ceremony June 10, Scott rode on the Queen of Rosaria float in the June 11 Grand Floral Parade, and enjoyed the revelry with her fellow princesses. She feels comfortable in front of people, and communicating — it’s why she likes politics and journalism. Scott also likes the pageantry of the Rose Festival court.

COURTESY PHOTO: ROSE FESTIVAL - SCOTT“I love the Disney princesses, like in ‘The Princess Diaries,’ and the main character, Mia Thermopolis,” she said. “This whole experience reminds me of that whole thing.”

The thing about the Rose Festival queen is it takes a lot to earn the position. The queen has a pretty impressive resume. To host her own news program was one positive — to fight for school name change was another.

“Hot Tea with Senya” was part of her online school magazine, The Headlight, with videos posted online ibwhsmag.com/category/video/htws.

“We did it for about 2 1/2 to 3 years, quite a few episodes,” she said. “It had a little bit of something for everyone,” from politics to school happenings.

“That really did help with this whole Rose Festival experience and the speaking engagements.”

Participation with the name change committee was not an easy assignment. Many people did not want to see the name changed.

“The process itself, to be a part of it, was incredible. It was hard. It was difficult, as a student, because I never thought I’d have a say in that,” she said. “I had to put myself in the head space that I’ve earned this spot on this committee, and to speak up and do my part, give my input even if disagreeing with someone — at age 16, 17.

“Once the name did get changed, it was incredible. One of the best times of my life. I saw hard work by students and staff pay off before my eyes.”

Scott moved with her mother, Isata Bundukamara, from North Carolina. From West Africa, her mother went to Marylhurst College and loved it, Scott said. So, she moved back, working for the Port of Portland and now Portland Public Schools. Scott’s father lives in Minnesota.

What makes Scott most happy about being Rose Festival queen is watching the reaction and joy of people around her.

“I just felt my community celebrate with me,” she said. “I’ve heard from friends, and their families are so excited. I’ve heard from staff members, who said the community really needed something like this. It put our school on the map in a positive way.

“My mom was so shocked. We had talked about it, and a lot of her mind was, ‘Senya was a princess and graduating.’ Those were the things on her checklist. Being crowned queen, she was blown out of the water. And she’s getting treated like a VIP, getting bouquets of flowers. She’s on cloud nine with everything.”

Scott made some appearances as a princess, and enjoyed visiting Pendleton with her fellow princesses and riding a horse. As queen, she’ll make more appearances, while working at a part-time job, before going off to Howard. (More commitments will come next Rose Festival season, and she promises to return to Portland for them.)

She’ll have find time to enjoy the summer.

“I want to spend quality time with friends and people around me,” she said.


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