By Samantha SLAYBACK
Citizens of Pasadena and surrounding areas, including La Crescenta, take pride in one of the world’s annual traditions: the Tournament of Roses Parade. Situated close to famous Colorado Boulevard, members of the foothills community can often be found each year decorating floats or perched along the boulevard to cheer parade participants. This year, cheers will be particularly loud when Crescenta Valley High School senior and color guard captain Elizabeth Hwang marches down the parade route.
Hwang’s experiences with color guard began when she entered junior high.
“I started [color] guard in middle school because one of my older cousins participated in guard at her school,” said Hwang. “I didn’t plan on doing color guard once I got to high school, but I decided I might as well and I ended up falling in love with it.”
Hwang has been involved with color guard for five years, and has been the captain of the team at CV for the past two.
“She has really improved the team,” said her mother, Chae Hwang. “The year before she joined as a freshman, I believe they had three members – they now have 16 members.”
Hwang’s mother explained the dedication needed for her daughter to achieve the position she currently enjoys. Every morning at 6:45, the team practices at the school with the marching band during zero period. The team also participated in after-school practices and Saturdays were also dedicated to honing their skills. Hwang also goes above and beyond to attend weekend clinics held by other prominent color guards.
This was Hwang’s third year auditioning for the Tournament of Roses honor band in the color guard division.
“We are very proud that she made it,” Chae said. “The tryouts were all day on Oct. 12 and, after many cuts, she was told at the end of the day that she had made it.”
At the time of tryouts, Hwang had been suffering from a shoulder injury. Fearing her injury might cost her last chance to be a part of the Tournament of Roses, she was doubly thrilled to hear that she’d made the cut.
“I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself when they told me I had made it onto the flag line,” said Hwang. “I was ready to explode I was so excited.”
In addition to her commitment to the CV color guard team, Hwang also participates in a number of other organizations on campus.
“I am a part of CV’s Symphony Orchestra, an editor for Journeys [a literary magazine], a member of Belles [a student-run vocal group], and a part of CV’s chapter of the Solar Army,” Hwang listed off.
Her new position as a part of the Tournament of Roses marching band will be adding a few more responsibilities to her slate. These include weekly rehearsals and performances at various locations such as Disneyland, Bandfest events at PCC and, of course, the Rose Parade. Hwang’s rehearsals will be beginning Nov. 9.
“The Tournament of Roses is very selective and it was an honor for her to be selected especially since she is the first from CV High,” Hwang’s mother said.
The significance of her achievement hasn’t escaped Hwang.
“I am so proud to be able to not only be a representative of CV in the parade, but also a representative of the parade at CV.”
She hopes that her accomplishments will inspire other students to audition for experiences that they would like to be a part of.
“This achievement means the world to me,” Hwang shared. “I absolutely cannot wait for rehearsals to begin and for New Year’s Day and the march of a lifetime.”