Northern Ohio Rose of Tralee crowned
The culmination of the April 27 Northern Ohio Rose Selection Celebration was the crowning of Ashley Speaker, of Southington, Ohio, as the 2012 Northern Ohio Rose. Speaker was selected as the winner ahead of five other contestants after a round of judging that consisted of on-stage interviews with emcee Dan Coughlin.
The evening featured a gala reception at LaCentre that included U.S. Marine Corps escorts, piano and violin duo from the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, a bagpiper and male and female vocalists.
Following her selection as 2012 Northern Ohio Rose, Speaker will travel to Ireland at the end of May to compete in the Rose of Tralee International Festival’s Regional Finals. Those who are chosen to advance from the Regional Finals proceed to Westlake’s sister city of Tralee, Ireland, in August to participate in the Rose of Tralee International Festival, reported to be the most widely viewed event on Irish television year after year.
While the International Festival may have the look and feel of a beauty pageant, it is instead a celebration of the character, attributes, aspirations and inner beauty of young women of Irish heritage throughout the world.
The celebration was sponsored by Westlake World Partners Co., a local non-profit formed to support cultural, educational and organizational exchange in conjunction with the City of Westlake’s Sister Cities program. In order to host this event, which also serves as its major fundraising event, Westlake World Partners had to first obtain official designation as a “Rose Centre.” As the Northern Ohio Rose Centre is currently Ohio’s only Rose Centre, the Northern Ohio Rose is recognized as the “Ohio Rose” in Ireland.
Donning her successor with sash and crown was 2011 Ohio Rose, Bridget Linton, of Green, Ohio. Linton expressed her gratitude for the new experiences she enjoyed during her reign as the 2011 “Ohio Rose” and appreciation for the warmth and welcoming nature extended by the City of Westlake and Northern Ohio Rose Centre volunteers. Offering their congratulations to Ashley Speaker were fellow 2012 finalists from across the Greater Cleveland area: Brenna Behan and Caitlin Mackin, both of Westlake; Madeline Fox of Lakewood; Mary Cooper of Euclid; and Tara Quinn of South Euclid.