Rep. Peltola selects Samantha Wanner as 2023 Alaska Cherry Blossom Princess

    Samantha Wanner - photo courtesy of Alaska State Society

    Washington, D.C. (KINY) - On Thursday, U.S. Representative Peltola announced her selection of Samantha Wanner to represent Alaska in the 2023 Cherry Blossom Princess Program.

    Wanner grew up in Chugiak, Alaska, and is currently attending the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) with a major in Health Science.

    In addition to making the Dean’s List at UAA, she has also been an Alaska Area Health Education Scholar, a women’s Power League of Alaska Mentee, presented a published paper at the Alaska Public Health Conference, and worked as a program facilitator with Premera to deliver baby boxes to expectant mothers in rural Alaska.

    Wanner also has a strong background in public speaking, ballet performance, and volunteering.

    “I’m proud to select Samantha as Alaska’s Cherry Blossom Princess for 2023,” said Representative Peltola. “Samantha exemplifies the traits of the Cherry Blossom Princess Educational and Cultural Exchange program, including academic excellence, a deep interest in civic affairs, and a proven commitment to community-minded service. The Cherry Blossom program has welcomed many incredible Alaskans to its ranks over the years, Including our own Senator Lisa Murkowski, and I am confident that Samantha will be a strong addition to this community.”

    Samantha will be celebrated at a Cherry Blossom Princess Reception hosted by the Alaska State Society on Apr.13 at the Credit Union House in Washington, D.C.

    The Cherry Blossom Princess Educational and Cultural Exchange Program is a weeklong cultural and educational opportunity for young women from across the U.S. and around the world.

    Since 1948, state and territory societies, as well as the international embassy community, have selected accomplished young women between the ages of 19 and 24 for their academic achievement, exceptional poise and appearance, excellent interpersonal communication skills, leadership, interest in social, civic, community and world affairs strong desire to serve others through community service, maturity and responsibility, and to:

    • Represent the National Conference of State Societies and Cherry Blossom Princess Program by actively supporting these organizations’ mission, values, and goals.

    • Serve by attending and actively participating in NCSS and Princess Program community outreach initiatives as well as by serving at required events and social functions.

    • Learn by taking advantage of opportunities for broadening personal development, volunteerism, and community involvement.

    • Have fun and make new friends through festival volunteerism – one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of participation in the National Cherry Blossom Princess program.

    These young women representatives are called “Cherry Blossom Princesses.”

    Today more than 3,000 young women have participated in the NCSS Cherry Blossom Princess Educational and Cultural Exchange Program since 1948, including daughters of presidents, congressmen and senators.

    The princess program continues to inspire women of accomplishment.

    The Pi Alpha Kappa Cherry Blossom Princess Sorority includes Senator Lisa Murkowski.

    The mission of the program is to have the Cherry Blossom Princesses participate in educational, leadership, and cultural activities as they serve their nation and respective state, in a “Washington Classroom,” by introducing the princesses to many government, cultural, military, business leaders, and female role models, who work in the nation’s capital.

    In the past decade, the princesses have met with First Lady Laura Bush; former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Naval Commander Yvette Brownwhaller; Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught; Red Cross President and CEO Dr. Bernadine Healey, among others.

    The U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen is chosen by a random spin of a wheel of fortune by the Japan Ambassador in Washington, D.C.

    The following morning, the newly crowned U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen and her Japan counterpart, along with the State, Territory, and International Princesses are invited to participate in the National Cherry Blossom Parade® and the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival.

    Every year since 1948, the U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen has been selected at the Official Coronation of the United States Cherry Blossom Queen and Cherry Blossom Grand Ball from among the Cherry Blossom Princesses representing the states and territories.

    Every year since 1973, the NCSS-sponsored U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen has been officially invited, by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association (JCBA) to visit Japan in May.

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