From the get go, it appeared to be a battle for the crown as the Clendon Mason Memorial Secondary School hosted its fourth annual Miss La Wenn Kweyol Pageant. The stage had been set, the contestants were ready. The school grounds resembled a kaleidoscope of colour as the students in attendance were donned in well-crafted madras, some in plaid material. Others chose the occasion as one to show off their tastes in fashion. Either way, they were ready for whatever the day promised.
The fight for the crown was obvious. From the start the six lovely young ladies voiced their intentions clearly from their introductions; each of them snatching the coveted tiara from the other as they tried to win the audience’s love early. Eltina Felix, Johnasia Stanislas, Alysa Joseph, Vianna Jacob, Stephie Emmanuel and Shontell David all had their chance at impressing the crowd and judges early until fittingly, last year’s queen Timacia Sealy, reminded them that she was still queen even if for her final day.
Speaking of the judges, they presided over the day’s proceedings and were to determine a winner based on the criteria of: creativity, visual impact, performance, execution, content, portability, fluency and delivery. The contestants were required to use their abilities to bring out their best in four categories.
In the first category, the contestants were required to fashion their very own creole dresses using whatever items necessary to depict vintage attire. This segment highlighted the ingenuity of the contestants, as outfits were produced with a mixture of cloth and banana straw, sack material, fishnet, fabric netting, seaweed, paper and newspapers.
For the second category, the young ladies were required to use their talents to relive the norms of yesteryear. The audience was treated to a range of skits, as the contestants attempted to give their fellow schoolmates a brief understanding of the way of life in the past through performances showcasing small canoe fishing, childbirth by midwives and practices during times of death in a community.
During the third segment, the lovely six gracefully moved along the stage in their National Wear, each unique in their own way and depicting their particular theme.
The fourth and final category was dubbed “Pawol Gwan Moun”. In this segment, the ladies were required to address the judges and audience on a given topic and were to do the entire speech in creole. This initiative replaced the customary question segment used in pageantry.
As a member of the audience, I was quite pleased with the day’s proceedings. The activity was blessed with great weather; the show seemed to be well planned as it went along smoothly with no interruptions. Kudos to the organizing committee for their attempt at making the pageant one with a difference. The introductory ‘tussle’ for the crown and the Pawol Gwan Moun segment brought a unique side to the pageant. The students on the day were well behaved and the contestants were all deserving winners.
In the end, the six young ladies should have all walked away with some sense of accomplishment, as the top four were all separated by just 27 points. After the final calculation, Johnasia Stanislas was crowned Miss CMMSS La Wenn Kweyol for 2014, after she grabbed three of the five individual awards namely Best Intro, Best Creative Wear and Miss Photogenic. First runner up Shontell David won the award for Best Talent and Alysa Joseph who was the second runner up, was considered the best in the Pawol Gwan Moun category.