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.”