SAMECA HENDRICKSON | ST THOMAS – After competing in poise, talent, image, and personal/private interview, Elisa M. Thomas, Miss UVI 2014-2015, captured the prestigious title of Miss NBCA Hall of Fame Queens Pageant. Thomas vied for title among 29 other HBCU royalty in Atlanta, Georgia on September 24-28.
University faculty and staff, students and well wishers greatly applaud Thomas on her a job well done!
Five Ladies Vying for Miss University of the Virgin Islands 2014
SHARI CHRYSS ALFRED|
ST. THOMAS- February marked the start of pageant season on the island of St. Thomas and it also marked the beginning of a voyage of five young women yearning to become the next Miss University of the Virgin Islands.
On Sunday, Feb. 2, five young women officially became contestants in this year’s Ambassadorial Competition.
Each year, the Queen’s Committees on both campuses work diligently to host a show for the Virgin Island’s community. This year’s competition will be held at the Reichhold Center for the Arts on April 12.
Annually, the Miss UVI Competition awards the winner with a grand prize of free tuition and room and board, which can range anywhere between $12,000-$20,000. In addition, the winner receives an all-expense-paid trip to participate in the Miss Historically Black College and University Pageant Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. The first runner-up in the Miss UVI competition will also receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Contestants will receive others prizes for the highest scores in the various segments: Business Wear, International Wear, Talent, Evening Wear and Best Intellect.
This year, both committees promise a show like no other. Recognizing the university’s motto of being “globally interactive,” an international wear segment has been added.
Each contestant this year brings something unique to the table, representing various islands in the Caribbean.
Contestant No. 1, Kimberly Donovan, from Tortola, British Virgin Islands, is a 21-year-old senior majoring in elementary education and English.
Contestant No. 2, is 20-year-old Elisa Thomas, a junior communication student. Thomas is a former Virgin Islands Carnival Queen.
Contestant No. 3, Shanice Wilson, is the only contestant from the St. Croix campus. Wilson is a 23-year old business administration major with a concentration in marketing.
Contestant No. 4, Sherisia Gumbs, is a 19-year-old sophomore, majoring in applied mathematics. Gumbs is also a St.Croix native.
Contestant No. 5, from Dominica, is 20-year-old Nichole Ettienne, a computer science major with a concentration in computational biology.
As she addressed the contestants and instructed them to sign their contracts, Miss UVI 2013-2014, Murchtricia Charles, reminded the contestants that this competition is deemed one of the most difficult pageants in the Virgin Islands. She described her experience with Miss UVI as a challenging one, often skeptical of the outcome.
“I remember attending a mock interview last year at the Queen’s Retreat and after the interviews were completed, the other contestants and I were told by the judges that if they were to choose a Miss UVI tonight they would choose none of us,” Charles said. “That night we went back to our rooms and cried in each other’s arms.”
Of the eight pageants she competed in, Charles has captured two other titles along with Miss UVI. Prior to migrating to St. Thomas to further her studies, Charles captured the titles of Miss John H. Woodson Jr. High School and Miss Central High School, both on St. Croix.
“It’s half about winning and half about the experience,” Charles said. “Win or lose, you are expected to use the skills you gain from Miss UVI and from Miss HBCU to better your school, yourself and your community.”
Like members of the UVI community, the committee expressed their excitement and anticipation of what the contestants will bring to the stage in this year’s competition.
“We have five lovely contestants and I would like to wish each one of them the best of luck,” said Robert Chen, faculty advisor of the Queens Committee.
Also in attendance was Student Activities Supervisor Leon Lafond. Lafond served as an advisor to Charles last year when she competed in the Miss HBCU pageant.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Ms. Charles,” said Lafond, “and I am looking forward to seeing what the girls put forth.”
ST. THOMAS – Despite overcast skies and intermittent showers, the sun made its appearance and so did a crowd on March 9, to enjoy the food, fun, and entertainment.
The University of the Virgin Islands and Virgin Islands Lottery presented Afternoon on the Green’s 25th anniversary themed 25 Shades of Green, on the Herman E. Moore Golf Course.
This annual “friend raiser” brought hundreds of people to the university for family fun and entertainment. The event is centered around local chefs preparing their favorite dishes for tasting, and charging $3 to taste.
The 2013 road-march winners Spectrum Band provided musical entertainment while Tony T of 105 JAMZ hosted the event.
On center stage, the Miss UVI, Carnival Queen and Carnival Princess contestants paraded pageantry as they introduced themselves to the crowd. The newly-crowned Miss Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School made her first public appearance after winning her title the night before.
“Through our ongoing community outreach initiatives, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority presented electric safety through its power-town display,” Linda Ritter, communications assistant said.
Shawn Rawlins, IARA investigator, displayed electrical safety and power line safety, such as lines through trees, safety around down power lines and pad mount transformers.
There were also a number other organizations and departments with displays and presentations for visitors to view. UVI also had a strong presence at the Afternoon on the Green. The Center for Student Success, Access and Enrollment Services and the College and Liberal Arts were a few of the departments present.
The university’s Nursing Association had a popular display that promoted awareness of common illnesses such as high blood pressure.
They also offered free testing for glucose, blood sugar and weight.
ST.THOMAS- Miss University of the Virgin Islands, Murchtricia Charles represented the University of the Virgin Islands in the Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Competition from Sept. 25 – Sept. 29 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.
Charles, whom was accompanied by Student Affairs representative Leon Lafond and Cherie Wheatley, competed for the title against 29 other college queens from Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country.
She received an abundance of support from the UVI community and the Virgin Islands as a whole.
“The preparation process for Miss UVI’s participation in the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame competition was a blessing. We had been meeting with Mrs. Lisa Wynn-Magnuson, director/owner of The Virgin Islands Etiquette & Leadership Institute who also participated in the same competition several years ago and came in first runner up. Mrs. Magnuson has been consistent with preparing Murchtricia Charles for this event,” Lafond said.
Charles took the initiative to do plenty of research on her own and other preparations to educate herself for the competition that is a part of the university’s tradition.
“Truthfully, I was terrified going into the competition however I saw how welcoming everyone was and it enabled me to open up and be comfortable. The experience was educating and phenomenal overall. I left with new plans for student leadership for the University of the Virgin Islands,” Charles said.
Charles was excited about representing both the Virgin Islands and the University of the Virgin Islands amongst the other Historically Black College and Universities at the competition.
Charles was actively involved in the various sessions/workshops as part of her ambassadorial role at the competition in addition with the other queens. She participated in events such as the Queen’s Tea Party, visited local schools in Atlanta, personal interviews, and the Positive Image program.
“It may seem like a lot but Murchtricia Charles was fully prepared to partake in these events,” Lafond said.
The competition featured women who have been recognized by their respective colleges or universities with the coveted title of “College Queen.” The winner would carry the title of Miss NBCA Hall of Fame.
In addition, the competition provided an opportunity for young women attending our nations Historically Black Colleges and Universities to better prepare for the future.
Though the program places emphasis on excellence, achievement and personal growth, it also strives to make the experience fun.
“There weren’t many challenges in our preparation process. I, along with her chaperone Ms. Cherie Wheatley, her other family and friends, especially her brother Jamal Drummond has been very supportive to her throughout the process,” Lafond said.
“Unfortunately I did not place but it was a wonderful experience,” Charles said. “I learned so much about leadership and got to meet numerous other HBCU kings and queens. I grew as an individual and it was a very spiritual experience that I will never forget.”
Miss University of the Virgin Islands 2012-2013, Ivory Carter represented the Virgin Islands last year in the Miss NBCA Hall of Fame competition. Miss Morehouse College 2012-2013, Jasmine Mathews won the competition last year.
The UVI community wished their ambassador luck and supported Murchtricia Charles as she vied for the title of Miss NBCA Hall of Fame.