This past weekend I attended the “Miss District High School Pageant. First, if you didn’t attend, trust me when I tell you that the $50 price tag would have been worth every single penny of that small investment. Afterall, I was unhappy and dissatisfied after paying a whopping $150 for this year’s Carnival Queen Show, which in my opinion, was not worth it. Notwithstanding that, for the first time, in the history of my attending the Carnival Queen show, I never saw so many people in attendance like I did this year. It was a record attendance. Now let me stay focus here and get to the subject at hand.
“I am a St. Lucian” according to the lyrics in the popular Arthur Allain song. Nevertheless, I feel like most things we undertake are so peppered with mediocrity and substandard effort. This has caused a high level of sensitization as it pertains to my expectations. But you know what they say, low expectations sometimes beget great outcomes; and for sure this Miss. District High School Pageant blew me out of the water with its surprisingly high standards. Yes, I said it!! It seemed better organized, the girls were prepared and on point, save for maybe one off-beat girl. But as life would have it, in everything there’s always an abnormally. All in all, it began on a very high note and for your curious information, it did not disappoint.
There were five segments: Introduction, Talent, Swimwear, Evening wear and the infamous Interview round. The introductions all began with a bang, most of the girls represented their schools with vigour and valour. The ones etched in my mind as I re-live these pleasant memories, are Miss. St. Lucia Sports Academy, Miss. Ciceron, Miss. SJC, Miss. CCSS and Miss. Grand Rivere. I was clutching my pearls when one of them declared “Let the battle begin.” It was a solid start to talent, beauty, bran and obviously brains.
The talent segment was especially well thought of and timely as it focused on the various social issues befalling St. Lucia at this moment. There was a poignant highlight on the magnitude of Carnal Knowledge and Pedophilia tendencies imposed on many of our young schoolgirls on the island. The rendition in song to seal the deal, called them out as dirty, dirty men. Then a shift was made to the high rates of Child Abuse and if that wasn’t a glaring reality, another talent focused on the current atmosphere of gun violence, physical assaults, grievous harm, and homicides that seem to be commonplace for us in St. Lucia. She begged and pleaded for us to come together and take our St. Lucia back because it is ours to preserve.
Then came a riveting delivery of the fact that as St. Lucians we seem to be destroyers of dreams with our negative energies. How the very people that we trust and expect to be our cheerleaders, are the ones removing the bricks from our foundations. These dream killers included family members, besties, our own coaches and even our significant others. But the real message in her delivery, was that we remain focused on our dreams; to be our own cheerleaders, to speak positive affirmations into our lives, and to work hard and believe that whatever we set out to do, that it is always possible. What a powerful message that was and of course, that talent emerged as the Best Talent of the night; I’m sure that the taste of victory was very sweet indeed.
Another talent focused on young women being vigilant and obedient when it came to leaving their parents houses prematurely. The disappointments associated with shacking up with men whilst playing house with a baby in tow. Finally, I enjoyed the talent which brought a bold view on all society’s high expectations of women and girls and yet the harsh ills that they face at society’s same tongue. She explored the hard reality of her hypothetical mother’s life which included beatings by her husband and the glorified actions of infidelity. She didn’t stutter in delivering a very strong message to her future husband. We heard her loud and clear when she told us what she won’t tolerate nor settle for. Her standards were all self-elevating, collaborative, respectful and successful. What a bright future that these contestants have if they continue building on their obviously solid foundations. And that was the talent segment in a mouth full.
The swimwear segment begins with a quick sidenote of thanks to whoever thought of putting the girls, in uniformed swimwear that made them look beautiful yet youthful and fun. Some walked better than others and I had some good laughs at those who wore the look of terror on their faces as they dreaded an embarrassing fall. Afterall, laughter is always a part of the menu.
Before I move on the evening wear segment, I must also applaud the make-up artists for their stellar work done on the girls faces. All the girls were nicely and gently made up and they looked amazing. None of them were over-done and aged during the process. Some other shows get it wrong all the time, and I’m normally perplexed with the weight of foundation and the airplane eyelashes that traumatize the contestants, I’m sure. This time around, it was perfect, so Bravo to all the Make-Up Artists.
Let me put a caveat here before I venture into the next segment. Notwithstanding that the show was an amazing one, the Evening Wear segment seems to always be a struggle for both aspiring and seasoned designers alike. I’m not sure if it’s because of short notice blunders, the lack of creative prowess or the downright inability to interpret the segment itself and to deliver appropriately.
Most of the dresses at the show left a lot to be desired and I believe that it cost the girls a few points. I don’t want to pinpoint any of them specifically, because that’s not the overall objective of my article. Nevertheless, I felt sad for a few of the girls. It seemed like some designers ran out of thread to sew the dresses adequately. The colors against young skin seemed to be out of focus and far too much material was purchased to execute one dress that the poor contestant was overwhelmed with cloth. I mean, these are High School girls for crying out loud, what happened to design words like young, fresh, bright, vibrant, and youthful?
The one which stood out for me, won the best Evening Wear Category, and she shone bright like the sun, no pun intended. And if I heard correctly, she had a hand in the design so that was the icing that completed the cake. An aspiring Fashion Designer she claims, and if I do say so myself, her future looks blindingly bright.
The Interview segment is always the most feared and anticipated. I found that the questions were not bad at all and that the girls were able to think for themselves and maneuver with their responses. They didn’t sound like robots like in some other pageants which shall remain nameless. Although, nerves are always unwelcomed patrons, they did good enough save for a few blunders and a total misunderstanding of what was being asked of one or two of them. We need to have more debates and deeper discussions in our schools so that this will foster critical and creative thinking; it will also help our children with their eloquence and self-confidence.
All in all, I enjoyed the show, and it was a great effort. I hope it continues next year, and the next and the next. In the end, congratulations were extended to Miss. SJC. And please note, that it was not a slam dunk, it was tough competition. Miss. Ciceron came in second place and Miss. St. Lucia Sports Academy captured the third spot. A resounding congratulations to all the girls for participating and making the show a huge success.
The Emcees for the night really came through and the judges were in tuned with the competition, thank goodness. I was a happy spectator, and I would not have spent my Saturday any other way, given any other option. Way to go “Miss District High Pageant”!! What a spectacle!
PS: A little food on sale at a pageant show, never hurt nobody. A hungry man is truly an angry man. Just saying!!