Maureen Hasson , a rising junior at CUA, was featured in a July 24 Howard County Times article about her selection to compete for the title of "Rose of Tralee" in Ireland next month. See her remarks in the article below.

North Laurel woman competes for Rose title

From: Howard County Times Date: July 24, 2008 Author: John HayesDoves Fly Way resident Maureen Hasson will travel to Ireland in August to compete against 30 other women for the title of "Rose of Tralee." Hasson was selected as the Washington, D.C., representative to the 49th Rose of Tralee International Festival.

"This is an amazing opportunity. I am excited," said Hasson, who will be making her first trip to Ireland.

Roses are chosen by organizations throughout the world. Entrants are nominated by local businesses, other organizations or family and judging events span several days.

The Rose competition began in 1959 in Tralee as a way to boost tourism and has grown rapidly. Live television coverage of the Rose Festival reaches more than a million viewers. The competition is inspired by the line, "'Twas the truth in her eye ever beaming that made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee," from the ballad of the same name.

The winning Rose is the woman deemed to best match the attributes relayed in the song.

While in Ireland, Hasson, also known as "Mo," and the other Roses will tour the country for about two weeks, appearing at various parades and media events. During the last two nights of the Rose Tour the selection of the winner is live on television.

There are 31 Roses who compete in the international competition, nine of whom are from the United States.

The 32 counties in Ireland each select a Rose to attend a regional competition, held in June where the lot is narrowed down to six.

Women interested in next year's competition can go to the Web site

Hasson, who graduated from St. Vincent Pallotti in 2006, is a rising junior at Catholic University, in Washington, D.C. She is majoring in politics with minors in philosophy and the media and her plans include graduate work in communications.

This summer, she is working as an intern for the Department of Homeland Security.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival opens with the International Gala Rose Ball, where guests gather in the Festival Dome for an evening of dining, performances and fireworks to celebrate the Roses' arrival in Tralee from Dublin.

An audience of more than 2,000 fill the Dome to capacity to support their Rose as she is interviewed on stage. The event is an exciting roller coaster ride. The atmosphere grows as friends and family gather with huge banners and mascots. After each night's show, the Dome is transformed for dancing at Party With the Roses.

Parades feature the international Roses and include stilt walkers, jugglers, acrobats and magic.

After returning to Laurel, Hasson will reign at St. Patrick's Day parades and other Irish-centered events.