The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1997


Miss Pa. bears gifts forged here

PHOTO Miss Pennsylvania Heather Busin signs an autograph for Beth Tissot, 9, of Windsor, Ontario, at Wendell August Forge in Grove City. Miss Busin, who is a junior at Grove City College, will compete for the title of Miss America Saturday in Atlantic City. (Jean Angelo/Herald)

By Kate Perna
Herald Correspondent

Miss Pennsylvania Heather Nicole Busin took gifts from Wendell August Forge with her to the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

The sophomore at Grove City College picked out the items during a recent autograph-signing session at the Grove City forge. She needed something uniquely Pennsylvanian to take with her during stops along the way to Atlantic City, said forge sales representative Erin Pisano.

Besides her souvenirs, Miss Busin left with a plaque that was uniquely hers _ engraved with her name, title, year and a single rose symbolic of the pageant.

``We are very proud of Miss Busin's commitment to education and literacy for the family,'' said Wendell August Chief Executive Officer F.W. Knecht III. Miss Busin's pageant platform is family literacy.

Since being named Miss Pennsylvania, the Poland, Ohio, native has been traveling and speaking statewide about the importance of parental support in the education of children.

The Ohio woman could receive the title of Miss Pennsylvania because she lived as a student in Grove City for more than six months, meeting a residency requirement of the pageant. Once that requirement is met, young women can compete in any of the qualifying pageants in the state.

This week, she is in Atlantic City preparing for Saturday night's pageant. Because she has a tattoo, she was named first runner-up in a mythical ``coolest contestant'' contest by The Press of Atlantic City.

In the pageant's talent competition, Miss Busin will be singing a contemporary gospel song by Twilla Paris. Voice instructor Judy Hughes, Grove City, has taught and encouraged Miss Busin through all her competitions, starting with Miss Butler County, which she won in March.

All the pageants have been sponsored by the Miss America scholarship organization, and Miss Busin said all her winnings go toward her education at Grove City College, where she is an elementary education major.

``I guess I have always wanted to be Miss America. But because the pageant is a part of the Miss America Scholarship Association, I want to support the group that supports the ideas of today's young women,'' she said.

``My hope and goal is to show society and America that this is a wonderful opportunity for women to speak out about issues that are important to them,'' she said.

Director of Public Information at Grove City College Alicia L. Johncour said a group of Miss Busin's supporters from her sorority, Sigma Theta Chi, and members of the GCC Marching Band are to attend the pageant.

The band will perform in the Miss America pageant parade at 6 p.m. Saturday, she said. Miss Busin is a majorette with the band.

``The college has supported me in so many different ways and having the band come and support me in the Miss America pageant _ I can't wait,'' Miss Busin told the college's public information office. She added there never has been a college band follow their representative to the competition.

College President Dr. John H. Moore and his wife will be in Atlantic City for the parade and the pageant.

Ms. Johncour said a big screen TV and refreshments will be available Saturday in Ketler Dormitory Recreational Lounge for students, faculty and staff who want to watch the pageant.
Herald Staff Writer Karen Coates contributed to this story.

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