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Thomas Saunders Secondary lass takes Miss Heritage crown

Thomas Saunders Secondary lass takes Miss Heritage crown


Two days after being crowned the winner in the 2011 Scotia Bank National Secondary School’s Miss Heritage Pageant, 16-year-old Jonique Chance is still basking in happiness.{{more}}

The fifth form student of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School said her schoolmates sang and wrote poems to her and even asked for an encore of her captivating performance in the talent segment of last Saturday’s event.

Her delivery, poise and charisma had the large crowd at the Victoria Park eating out of her hands from the time she took the stage in her first appearance.

Coming up against eight other students from the various secondary schools throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, although just about five feet tall, the fifth form student stood head and shoulders above all others en route to the crown.

Jonique will reign as Miss Heritage for the next two years.

The Prospect resident, who is the daughter of Chelly Sayers and Jeffrey Chance, won the award for the best promotional video, the Ministry of Culture trophy for best talent, the Ivy Joshua trophy for the best ambassadorial speech, and tied with Beverna Simmons of the George Stephens Secondary School and Precious Abraham of the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown for the Miss Congeniality award.

Precious Abraham of the St. Joseph’s Convent Kingstown was third runner up, while Chelsia Burke of the Georgetown Secondary School took the second runner-up position, with Anya Frederick of the St. Vincent Girls’ High School being adjudged first runner-up.

The award for the Most Community Spirited went to Lystra Burgin of the West St. George Secondary School, while Anya Frederick of the Girls’ High School copped the Alma Dougan trophy for the Best Cultural wear.

“I am so happy and I just want to thank all of my supporters for being my biggest fans. Without them, I don’t think I would have done anything,” Chance said as she wiped tears from her eyes.

The lass said she was always confident that she would do well at her first ever pageant. “I felt confident that I would have won; once you have confidence on stage, you are always the winner,” she said.

Jonique, who admitted that she now has to catch up her on school work, thanked her chaperone, Larissa John, Spanish teacher at the Thomas Saunders Secondary. The aspiring lawyer also thanked her parents and friends for their support.

The high calibre show, although beginning about fifteen minutes late, progressed from start to finish without a hiccup.

Each student based her presentation on one the respective themes: Market vendors, Farmers, Artisans, Tray vendors, Tradeswomen, Carib Potters, Sugarcane workers, Cotton Pickers and Fish folk.

With her presentation “Tradeswomen”, Chance, clad in a T-shirt, stone-washed jeans, hard hat, construction boots and a utility belt strapped around her waist, reminded Vincentians that women are capable of executing the same jobs that are dominated by males. In her monologue, Chance drew reference to a woman who had telephoned a plumbing service to fix a broken pipe. However, the woman was shocked when she saw a woman show up at her house to fix the pipe.

In her ambassadorial speech, Chance said, “…For many years, it has been a man’s world, but not anymore, for we are thousands registered, with many more knocking on the door. Take heed for we are growing fast and remember I told you tradeswomen are here to last.”

For the Cultural wear segment, the bright smile of Anya Frederick of the GHS only helped to add to the splendor of her strapless dress, designed by local designer, Lisa Cordice. The dress, which was adorned with an array of gemstones in the front, was complemented by hair accessories and jewellry designed by Kimeisha Bailey of XhotiK. As she moved across the stage, the young beauty sashayed with elegance and poise.

Chelsia Burke, who received the Rene Baptiste trophy for best interview, was asked, “How has not having a father around influenced you?” The confident young lady said that the absence of her father has not affected her because her mother has played the role of mother and father. “It has helped me to be a confident young lady, despite my father not being there,” she responded to thunderous applause from persons seated in the stands and those gathered stage side.

Burke, who was also asked to share her view on the addition of the Garifuna language on the school’s time table, said, “Our Garifuna are a part of us. I think it should be made compulsory in the school’s curriculum, so that it could be made as a second language, so that persons could be aware of it and have a better understanding of it.”

Precious Abraham also gave a noteworthy performance for her talent, “Mas, ah kno yo”. The young lass went back into time and sang some of the calypsoes done by some of the greats of yesteryear such as The Professor and Lord Hawk. She also highlighted the work of pan men and costume designers who have been instrumental to the success of Carnival over the years.

The other delegates were: Britttany John of the Union Island Secondary, Chereesa Jacobs of the Intermediate Secondary School and Turphanie Davis of the St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua.

Extra entertainment on the night came from the Avenues Dancers, and a dance-off among the Groundbreakers, Teen Titans and Touchdown dance troupes.

But the hit act of the evening came from an all female quartet, comprising the 2011 New Song competition (calypso) winner Kahalia “Queen B” Beache, Soca artiste Shaunelle McKenzie, dancehall artiste First Lady and Calypsonian Javel ‘Lady Diamond’ Frank. The divas brought down the house with a medley of songs.

Hottsand provided musical accompaniment throughout the night.

Sharing brief remarks, Manager of Scotia Bank Basil Alexander gave kudos to Headmistress of the Girls’ High School Andrea Bowman and the Miss Heritage Committee for putting together a brilliant package when they were seeking sponsorship.

“I put it out there for anyone who wants to get sponsorship from companies, take a page out of the GHS book…,” Alexander urged.

Minister of Culture Frederick Stephenson also made brief remarks.