Carmen Crouch makes a grab for the crown

Carmen Crouch (right) teases her niece Maria by pretending to claim her title

Niece of Big Canoe residents named Teen Universe USA 2020

bob crouch niece Maria Escudero, niece of Big Canoe residents Carmen and Bob Crouch, recently won the title of Teen Universe USA 2020. She competed in San Diego with other contestants representing many of the 50 states.

Escudero and her family were granted asylum in 2009 due to the unbearable situation in Venezuela. She graduated from Flowery Branch High School this year where she was a star volleyball player.

She won the state title in May to qualify for the Teen Universe USA pageant in August. “Competing in these pageants requires persistence and perseverance. It involves long hours, intense preparation and a focus on details while always displaying a welcoming smile,” she said. “The rewards are well worth the commitment as I can use my title to positively influence the children I work with through charities. It is an immense honor and I will use my title to provide a positive role model to other teens.”

Escudero volunteers to work with Hispanic children to teach English as a second language enabling their success in school. She believes “children are our future and we need to focus on them. I love kids and am dedicated to their growth.”

“Maria's physical beauty is obvious with one glance, but her inner beauty is even more powerful and is apparent after a few minutes conversation,” said aunt Carmen Crouch. “She is giving, caring, intelligent and spiritual. She quickly responded to my modeling coaching and displayed a deep knowledge of current events while practicing responses to questions. Maria makes a positive difference in those she interacts with.”

Next up for Maria Escudero? She will travel to many of the 50 states representing Teen Universe USA. She will continue her exercise and diet programs, work with her support team and continue community volunteer work. Then there is the Teen Universe 2020 competition in Panama in February where she will compete with representatives of many nations.

Maria's long-term goal is to attend college and then a career as a plastic surgeon.

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