For the first time in years, Iowa will be represented at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.
University of Iowa freshman Jeralyn Westercamp, 18, is serving as Iowa’s princess for this week’s festival.
“I know this is going to be a chance in a lifetime,” she said.
Her first duty as princess was to be Sunday, attending the Lantern Lighting Ceremony, a formal ceremony featuring traditional Japanese performers and Washington dignitaries.
It all started when she was surfing the Internet for opportunities to get involved, something she believes is the best way to prepare for the real world.
“In order to have good experience at the university and life in general, you have to be involved,” she said.
She contacted the national director, and the ball was rolling.
“The state of Iowa has not had a representative for years,” she said. “I’m excited to represent Iowa.”
Westercamp keeps busy at the UI as a student in the Tippie College of Business and the school of music. At Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, she participated in a variety of organizations and received awards for leadership and academic achievements.
During the Cherry Blossom Festival, she will visit several places in the Washington, D.C., area, including Arlington National Cemetery and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
She also will attend several lunches and a grand ball with dignitaries and ambassadors from the United States and Japan.
For more information on the annual event, visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org