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Young, beautiful and talented

They’re young, beautiful and talented!Eleven young ladies with more than enough confidence to go after$30,000 in scholarship funds will hit the stage on Sunday, May 1 in hopes of being crowned Miss Bahamas Talented Teen.

The teenagers, who all come from different walks of life, believe they are worthy of the title and have something special to offer to go with that role model position.

Striving for excellence and uplifting the youth is the focus of this year’s unique scholarship pagaent, under the theme”SHOES–Sisters Having Opportunities for Excellence and Success.”

Bahamas Talented Youth Organization coordinator Sonovia Pierre, who is herself a former Miss Bahamas Talented Teen, says the”SHOES”theme is timely as it combines the concept of a woman’s accessory with paying homage to great female role models in society and the world.

She’s also impressed with the selection of young ladies in this year’s pageant which takes place at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino at 7:30 p.m.

“Screening for qualified young women is rigorous and thorough,”said Pierre. ”They have to have the grade point average, good references and then if selected go through intense training that includes speech classes, lessons on etiquette, hair and skin care among other things. This is not about just coming in and modeling.”She is excited to see who will emerge victorious.

In addition to the$30,000 in scholarship funds to attend Sojourner Douglas College, the winner will represent The Bahamas at the Miss Caribbean Talented Teen pageant in St. Lucia. Other outstanding contestants can be awarded smaller scholarships to attend any institution of their choice.

While showcasing talent–with the contestants performing cultural and liturgical dance and ballet, pantomime, singing, acting and dramatic arts–the event is also about highlighting and educating the public on cancer awareness.

“Since the program’s platform is enhancing education and pediatric oncology, every year we adopt a little girl and crown her as our princess for the year, as well as give her family a little token,” said Pierre.”Last year’s princess was nine-year-old Tenia Cash. This year’s will be 11-year-old Sharnette Balfour-Minnis.” 

THE CONTESTANTS

K’Lysa Knowles

Age: 15

School: St. Augustine’s College

Lady of Excellence: Halle Berry

Shoe: Stilettos

Knowles says her lady of excellence, Halle Berry, is a person she admires. After doing research she has learnt alot about Berry and hopes that others have an appreciation for her as she has opened doorways for black women. Knowles’talent is dancing and she says the audience is truly in for a surprise and can expect lights and sparkles when she performs. Her platform is to uplift the cultural arts in the country and find ways for all areas of talent to have more opportunities for success and support. Knowles, who has danced nationally and internationally, says people who sing have more opportunities than people who dance. The dancer with the National Dance School of The Bahama is of the opinion that dancing is one of the lost talents in The Bahamas and has been pushed aside. Knowles strongly believes that no matter what you do, or put your mind to, unless you try, she says you will never reach your goals.

Shanice Montaque

Age: 16

School: C.V. Bethel

Lady of Excellence: Dame Ivy Dumont

Shoe: Boots

Montaque’s focus in the pagaent is to let young ladies know it is important to uplift your origins. She will express this by embracing her African heritage in a cultural dance. Her platform is to see the ever increasing violence in The Bahamas decreased and young persons becoming more involved in their community ad giving back where they can. She would also like to see more young men being involved in church as they are supposed to be the head of household. She says they need to step up to their position more.

DaeVinia Hall

Age: 16

School: C.R. Walker

Lady of Excellence: Cynthia”Mother” Pratt

Shoe: Toe shoes

Hall describes herself as open-minded person who is willing to try anything as long as it doesn’t harm her. Her lady of excellence, Cynthia”Mother”Pratt, has inspired her through the work she does with the youth in her community. She sees Pratt as a worthy role model and aspires to follow in her footsteps while pushing others to think outside of the box as well. Her platform is to encourage underprivileged youth to strive for excellence and success by using their talents–no matter where they come from, what their background, race, or nationality. Her talent is liturgical dancing. She will be performing to the song”He is Able,”beause she wants everyone to know that what you do through Christ will last.

Lichene Gardiner

Age: 17

School: Graduate of Government High School

Lady of Excellence: Condoleeza Rice

Shoe: Espadrilles

Women are among the most strong and determined people, according to Gardiner, who found inspiration in her lady of excellence, Condoleeza Rice, the first black female U.S. Secretary of State. Gardiner says she was intrigued to learn that as a child, Rice experienced injustices and prejudice that did not stop her from becoming successful in life. Gardiner is impressed with Rice’s determination and high sense of self-worth. Gardiner will perform a pantomime as she dares to be different. She plans to bring a different experience for the audience judges and her fellow contestants. Her platform is”Changing Lives to Make them Positive”because she believes she has the ability to influence people positively.

Lyshun Clarke

Age: 15

School: Jordan Prince William

Lady of Excellence: Italia Johnson

Shoe: Pumps

Clarke found inspiration in local female icon Italia Johnson, the first female Bahamian speaker of the House of Assembly, because of her ability to achieve excellence in all of the things she undertook in her life. Clarke says if Johnson can do it, it makes her think that she can too. So she is pushing herself to attain the same excellence.

Clarke’s talent is singing and she says she will set herself apart by making the songs she performs meaningful. She wants to sing about making dreams come true and achieving success and hopes to use her songs to relate to people in her age group by putting it in their language.

Mia Stanislaus

Age: 14

School: A.F. Adderley Junior High

Lady of Excellence: Michelle Obama

Shoe: Skates

Stanislaus believes it is important to dream big even if you are at a disadvantage. She is a firm believer in anything being possible. Her role model is Michelle Obama, the first black First Lady of The United States, who she says inspires her to want to go to college and open her own business. Her talent is acting and she will be putting on a skit.

Monesha Bowleg

Age: 15

School: Jordan Prince William

Lady of Excellence: Amelia Earhart

Shoe: Platforms

Bowleg believes manners will take you far–even in today’s world. She says good attitude and respectful behavior can take you places. Her advise to all youngsters is to ensure that they get an education.

Anika Darville

Age: 16

School: Doris Johnson High

Lady of Excellence: Elizabeth Blackwell

Shoe: Mule

Talent comes in many forms and to bring it out sometimes takes prompting from those who believe in you. Darville’s talents were nurtured and honed early in life from her family and teachers. Her talent is dramatic arts and singing, which were develped in her by a teacher who encouraged her to enter the drama club. She has since developed a passion. Singing for her was a passion from birth, introduced to her by her dad who sang around the house. She says his passion for singing inspired her to sing.

She believes that when it comes to society, young people should know that everyone is trying to be great but most have forgotten what true greatness is. She lives by the motto that greatness is revealed not in the light that shines upon you, but the light that shines from within.

Ashley Gilbert

Age: 13

School: CH Reeves Junior High

Lady of Excellence: Dame Doris Johnson

Shoe: Tap Shoes

Gilbert will focus on providing a positive outlook for young people by encouraging them to utilize their talents before they lose them. She wants to be a professional singer, and plans to sing positive songs in the pageant to lead people on the right path. Her advice for young ladies like herself is to not be afraid to show their talent and not to let it go to waste. She says God gave you a talent and he can take it back.

Athena Cochinamogulous

Age: 15

School: Queen’s College

Lady of Excellence: Janet Bostwick

Shoe: Sneakers

Being a woman who can find success in all realms of life is what inspires Cochinamogulous. Her lady of excellence is Janet Bostwick, the first female member of parliament. She says Bostwick is a great role model who has served on the executive committe of the Girls Brigade. As a strong woman, Cochinamogulous says Bostwick is a strong woman that should be admired. Cochinamogulous’talent is singing which she plans to couple with her poetic skills. What she thinks will make her stand out is that she has empathy for people which she attributes to her upbringing in a single parent family. She says she knows what it is to struggle and knows that not everyone has it all.

Aidan Barrow

Age: 17

School: Kingsway Academy

Lady of Excellence: Oprah Winfrey

Shoe: Sandals

Walking a road that few have walked and lighting a path that others may follow is the dream of Aidan Barrow, whose interests lay in cinematography. Barrow was thrilled when she was selected to research one of her favorite role models, Oprah Winfrey, as her lady of excellence. She says Winfrey has taught her that she doesn’t have to follow in anyone else’s footsteps. Barrow says that she would say to young people with big dreams, but who feel hopeless, to never give up or back down, even if everything is against them. She encourages everyone to have faith and confidence in themselves and know that if they do their best it will show.

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