EDISON—New Jersey’s 2010 Cherry Blossom Princess, Amanda Ussak of Edison was introduced to Capitol Hill Wednesday night at a reception in the Cannon House Office Building attended by Members of Congress, Japanese diplomats and Cherry Blossom princesses from around the country. She was escorted by Michael Passante, legislative counsel for banking and housing from the office of Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ.
Other events this week during this Cherry Blossom Festival week included a reception at the Japanese Embassy and a visit to the White House. Tonight, Ussak will attend the Grand Ball, at which a Cherry Blossom Queen will be selected by the spinning of a wheel. The Queen will then embark on a 10-day tour of Japan, representing the United States at Japanese cultural and celebratory events marking the blooming of the cherry blossoms. The week will include with the Cherry Blossom parade tomorrow.
Ussak was selected by the New Jersey State Society (NJSS), headquartered in Washington DC, based on her academic achievements, leadership skills, and interest in social, community and world affairs. The princess program is not a beauty contest, but a cultural and educational experience for young women between the ages of 19 and 24.
A 2006 graduate of Edison High School, Ussak is a Dean’s List senior at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she is majoring in international affairs with a minor in political science. She is president of the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority and has been involved in many volunteer activities, including Martha’s Table. DC Vote and the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
“Amanda is an accomplished young woman with an outstanding academic record, strong leadership qualities and a record of helping others.” Said NJ State Society President Donise Cameron. “We are proud that she is representing New Jersey at the 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival events.”
The NJSS is a 600-member, Washington DC-based nonprofit founded in 1941 that fosters educational, cultural, charitable and social activities among individuals with ties to New Jersey who work in the government, military and the private sector. It is affiliated with the National Conference of State Societies, which sponsors the princess program along with the Japan Cherry Blossom Association to commemorate the spirit of friendship symbolized by the 1912 planting of Japanese cherry trees along the Tidal Basin.
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