Like many others her age, Milwaukie resident Eva Busch just graduated from high school and will enter college in the fall. But unlike the others, on June 29 Busch will be Oregon's representative at the national finals of the Distinguished Young Women competition in Mobile, Alabama.
The event is not a beauty pageant, but instead is a competition that "focuses on scholastic achievements, interview skills, talent and fitness," Busch said.
"This program has helped me to better my skills in interview as well as interpersonal communication. I've also been able to make many friends both in Oregon and across the United States."
Distinguished Young Women
Last August, Busch won the state title by participating in a scholastic evaluation by a school official and a 10-minute interview with a panel of judges. And on the night of the state competition, she performed an aerial routine for her talent, walked the stage in the fitness category, and answered an on-stage question.
She will compete in the same categories at nationals.
"My talent at nationals will be an aerial hoop routine. This is like something one would see in a Cirque du Soleil show," Busch said, adding that she has been taking aerial acrobatics classes for close to eight years.
"It is one of my biggest passions," she said.
She is most looking forward to meeting the other girls at the national competition, as well as getting to know her host family.
Future plans, family ties
Busch said she earned scholarship money at the state level and hopes to earn more after competing at nationals.
In the fall, she will attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas where she will study chemistry.
"I plan to train and perform with Cirque du Soleil in the future, as well as pursue a career in plastic surgery. I hope to perform gender-reassignment surgeries for transgender people," she said.
Before graduating from St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Busch attended Riverside and Sojourner elementary schools in Milwaukie, as well as Cascade Heights Public Charter School in Clackamas. Her father's grandfather was one of the brothers who owned Busch Furniture in Oregon City, until he left the company to become a violin maker.
Her sister, Kati Busch, a 2015 La Salle Catholic College Preparatory School graduate, was the 2014 Distinguished Young Woman of Oregon, and competed at nationals in June 2014.
Busch added, "My sister ... recommended that I run for the state title because she really loved her experience with Distinguished Young Women, and she hoped that I would have a similar experience."
The national competition on June 29 and 30 and July 1 will not be televised locally, but it can be followed on social media at distinguishedyw.org.