Spartan University hosted its first fundraising activity for the Omotayo Medical Foundation last month; the inaugural Miss Spartan pageant which showcased the talents of five lovely young ladies from Saint Lucia and other parts of the world.
All of the contestants did their best but there was one who, from the introductory segment, seemed to win the admiration and applause of everyone in attendance, including myself. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Spartan Queen for 2014, Doose Abege.
Tell HYPE readers a little about yourself.
DA: I am 17-year-old Doose Abege of Benue States, Nigeria. I am studying medicine and find the surgical unit very fascinating, so I want to become a surgeon. For now I don’t know what aspect of surgery, whether constructive or cosmetic, but it is the field that I want to specialize in.
Let’s talk about coming to Saint Lucia. What motivated you to choose this country and Spartan University to pursue your studies?
DA: When I left secondary school, I knew what I wanted to do right away. I was looking for a school that would accept me at a young age and provide me with what I want.
Other schools I looked into, their requirements included age and a certain amount of knowledge in the field, and I didn’t want to wait and then probably lose interest in what I wanted to do. During my search, my mom and I observed that the Caribbean had very good medical schools. We came across Spartan and realized that they were a well-established institution with many years of experience, and I also had a friend here in St Lucia who recommended Spartan and the island. So we made the right decision.
What sort of impact has living and studying in St. Lucia had on you?
DA: It has had its challenges but it’s been good because I was welcomed when I came here; even over the phone the people that I communicated with about my admission and everything were very courteous.
Coming here, I stayed with a very loving roommate who my mom knew from back home, so it was easy adjusting here because she already knew the place.
What has been the most enjoyable and most difficult part of being here in Saint Lucia?
DA: The most enjoyable part of being here is the beach [chuckles]. Well not exactly, but I really like the fact that the country is surrounded by water and its very relaxing. I love going out when I’m not weighed down with schoolwork. The teachers here are also very experienced and take time to teach and tutor students.
The difficult part is being away from my family. I have been homesick a lot and I’ve not even been here that long. So that’s been the most challenging part. But thankfully, through social networking I am able to communicate with them and they reassure me that I came here for a good reason and I have to do what I have to do.
Also, being here, I have to be independent. I never knew anything about rent, bills and those sorts of responsibilities. Coming here I have to be accountable for everything at such a young age and I thank God that he has helped me go through everything without too much difficulty so far.
In terms of the pageant, what was the preparation like for you?
DA: It was quite hectic because the contestants did not have a break from schoolwork to prepare. So it was from school to rehearsals and practice. It was demanding but my teachers were very helpful.
How confident were you prior to and on the night of the pageant?
DA: I have never been someone with stagefright, but before every segment my heart skipped a beat; because I knew I had to constantly give my all. It was challenging but I forced myself to blank out everything and give my best.
Take me back to when you were on stage with the other contestants waiting for the results to be announced.
DA: All I could think about was “I don’t want to walk out of here empty-handed” [laughs], because the pageant took a lot of my time and effort and some expenses too. Even if I wasn’t crowned queen I would have taken it well, but I wanted to at least win some sort of prize to make the experience worthwhile.
Explain how you felt when you were crowned queen.
DA: Well I was like, thank God! I was overjoyed and ecstatic because at least my efforts and time weren’t put to waste.
Who would helped you along the road to this achievement?
DA: I’d like to thank Wendy Monrose and Jeffa Bellause who helped me with my preparations for the pageant.
Also my parents; as the first born of my family, I’ve been taught from a very young age to set a good example, and to set goals and standards for myself. So I don’t find it hard when it comes to stepping up. When I am posed with a task or responsibility, I set my mind to it.