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INDIANAPOLIS — A Crown Point native is representing Indiana as one of the 55 princesses chosen for the 70th annual Cherry Blossom Celebration in Washington, D.C.

Katrina Zdanowicz is a Crown Point High School graduate who currently lives in the nation's capital while working at Gartner Inc., a research and advisory firm, and earning a master's degree in public health at George Washington University.

Every year, an individual from each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories are selected as cherry blossom princesses based on their leadership abilities, volunteer work and passion for the states they represent.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who met Wednesday with Zdanowicz and introduced her at the Cherry Blossom Congressional Reception in the U.S. Botanic Garden, deemed her "an excellent representative for our state."

"I'm proud of Katrina and wish her luck in her bright future ahead," Young said.

The festival celebrates the stunning pink blooms of the cherry blossom trees given in 1912 to the United States by Japan as a gesture of friendship and goodwill.

The trees are located around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park and on the Washington Monument grounds.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.