Marist High School alumna and current employee Maggie McEldowney was crowned International Rose of Tralee on Tuesday, August 23, during a live broadcast in Ireland.
McEldowney ’07, the director of the school’s annual fund, was overwhelmed by the honor. She had first been selected as the Chicago Rose in May, and headed to Ireland in mid-August for a series of events and appearances alongside 63 other Roses from around the world. The international and local selection process takes into account the candidate’s commitment to service, character, Irish heritage, personality and suitability to serve as an ambassador for the festival. During the broadcast, candidates completed a short interview and performed a talent. McEldowney was at ease talking about Irish culture in Chicago, and then singing the Irish tune “A Little Bit of Heaven”.
McEldowney has been involved as a board member for the Young Irish Fellowship Club, which sponsors events throughout the city to raise funds for charities and celebrate Irish culture. She ran the Chicago Marathon in 2015 with Crossroads Runners, an extension of Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago, which works to eradicate poverty. She also finds great meaning in her role at Marist, noting how rewarding it is that her efforts help students attend Marist who might otherwise not be able to afford it.
McEldowney congratulated her fellow Roses and said she hopes to represent them well. She will spend the next year representing the festival, traveling around the world, and helping bring attention to notable charities along the way.
McEldowney is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign, where she was an Evans Scholar.
The Rose of Tralee festival marked its 57th anniversary in 2016. The Rose selection brings young women of Irish descent from around the world to County Kerry, Ireland, for a celebration of Irish culture. There are also concerts, a carnival, and other events associated with the festival.
Picture: Domnick Walsh Photography