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6/20/2014 8:13:00 AM
She goes from beauty pageants to the wild blue yonder

BEAVERTON — Erin Cochran, recent graduate of Valley Catholic High School, is trading her Miss Teen Oregon International crown for an Air Force beret.

Erin this month accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici nominated Erin to the service academy.

 Erin has been serving as Miss Teen Oregon International since October 2013 and has spoken all over the state at youth conferences and interview panels, addressing the problem of teen homelessness. Erin has raised money and awareness for a number of non-profits, including bowling in her pajamas and tiara for Sleep County Foster Kids program.

Erin was appointed to the Mayor's Youth Advisory Board from 2012-2014 where she worked on many projects, especially for Beaverton's more than 2,200 homeless or unaccompanied youth whom she and board members first identified in a survey Erin helped conduct among the Beaverton high schools. Erin went on to be named Emerging Young Leader awarded from the City of Beaverton, and joined the Mayor Denny Doyle and others from the board as a youth delegate to Washington D.C. to the National League of Cities.

Erin has been an active advocate for Oregon youth, speaking often with members of state legislature about education, youth partnerships, and representing youth to the Governor's Summit reducing minority recidivism in the juvenile justice system.

She could often be found volunteering at Maryville Nursing Home, making corsages for Maryville's Senior Prom, at Little Flower preschool, at the Salvation Army Veteran's Family Center, the Oregon Food Bank, cleaning a road or helping SOLVE, an environmental cleanup group. Erin also interned for a year for the World Affairs Council of Oregon.

She is the fifth member of her family to graduate from Valley Catholic, the first starting on the St. Mary of the Valley campus in 1974. As she begins this next step in her journey, Erin says she is especially grateful to the “wonderful sisters and teachers” who have been a part of her family's life for the last 40 years.

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