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Former Rose Festival princess, Happy Valley senior at Adrienne C. Nelson High School moves on to national pageant

When Happy Valley resident Isabella Ellsworth was named the winner of the Miss Oregon Teen USA pageant on Oct. 15, her mother said she was happy and excited for her daughter.PHOTO COURTESY: JAPI CULTURE MAGAZINE - Isabella Ellsworth competed in the Miss Oregon Teen USA Pageant, held on Oct. 15 at Sherwood Center for the Arts.

"She did it; she worked so hard and I got to experience this with her," Kristin Ellsworth said.

Then she wondered what her daughter was thinking.

But her daughter did not have much time for thought, as she was instantly surrounded by her fellow contestants, who told her how happy they were that she won and they knew she would do great things with her title.

"I'm still getting messages from them days later," Isabella said, adding that her favorite part of the competition was getting to know the other girls. And not surprisingly, what she is most looking forward to at the national competition in 2023, is meeting all the other contestants from the 50 states.

'Super Bowl of pageants'

"Everyone has heard of the Teen USA and the Miss USA pageants; it's the Super Bowl of pageants," Isabella said, adding, "I want to walk that stage, soaking in the moment."

As the state winner, the 17-year-old senior at Adrienne C. Nelson High School in Happy Valley earned two special awards: a $300 academic scholarship from Pageants NW for having nearly a 4.0 GPA and the $400 Girl Boss Award, which is sponsored by NanaMacs clothing company. The Girl Boss Award is given to a delegate who is fearlessly going after her dreams.

She also won a $2,000 scholarship from the Charles W. Herbster Foundation, which supports academic development and assisting students in pursuing a two-year, four-year or graduate degree.

Izzy's Gear for Girls

At the state pageant, Isabella competed in interview, fitness and evening gown. Contestants come to the competition with an initiative that promotes an issue they are passionate about: Isabella's is Izzy's Gear for Girls.

She collects all types of sports equipment, and gives that to young girls who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

"Sports are expensive and money should not be an issue" for girls to be able to be part of a sports team, she said, adding that she now hopes to expand her initiative statewide.

In her pre-pageant interview, she also said that she is proud of her generation because of its diversity and duty to the planet.

"It is not only about recycling, it is about how we treat one another. My generation doesn't care about skin color — we are accepting of one another," Isabella said.

Rose Festival princess

Last spring, Isabella was chosen the first Rose Festival princess from Nelson High School, which opened in 2021.

"In my school, traditions are just being named. This was so special; I hope it inspires other girls and starts a new tradition," she said.

She said the experience definitely helped her develop the poise, speaking skills and confidence that she needed to compete in the Miss Teen USA Pageant.

"Our travels and going out into the community talking to strangers was rewarding, but it also pushed me out of my comfort zone and I gained new experiences," Isabella said.

Nursing program

As a senior, Isabella is already on the road to making her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse come true, as she is currently enrolled in the Health Services Program at Owen Sabin-Ben Schellenberg Professional Technical Center.

When she was in third grade, she had to spend some time in the hospital, and the way that the pediatric nurses took care of her changed her outlook.

"I want to treat kids, how they treated me," Isabella said.

On Nov. 1, she took one more step in her journey, when she began shadowing a nurse in the post anesthetic and short-stay departments at Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center. She will be observing at first, but hopes to get in some hands-on experience as well, she said.

Helping others

At Nelson High School, Isabella is an ASB officer, National Honor Society officer and a member of the varsity softball team.

Isabella is so busy, her mother noted, that some days she looks at her daughter and asks if she is OK.

"Her one weakness is she never says no. But she always gets through it," Kristin said.

In addition to her school activities, Isabella is also a member of PDX Concierge, a student-run, free grocery delivery service focused on helping the elderly, immunocompromised and disabled.

"A couple of her clients only call her because she always makes sure their order is correct," Kristin said.

As for Isabella's new state title, "it is not about the crown or the sash. She has a heart of gold, so she will be pushing her initiative and doing more, helping other people."

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