Shaneisha, Raheim crowned Academy King and Queen

CUL DE SAC–Shaneisha Robinson (15) became the first St. Maarten Academy Queen in close to two decades. She gracefully sailed her way onto the throne on Saturday with an almost-clean sweep in all the segments. She won Best Female Academic Student, Best Female Introduction Speech, Miss Photogenic, Best Female Talent and Best Female Evening Wear.

Copping the spot as King was Raheim Fleming (14), who wowed the audience with his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” to win Best Male Talent. He also received the nod for first place among the boys in the Question and Answer segment.

Among the prizes awarded to both the King and Queen – both Form Two students – were a scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year from the school board and the Parent Teachers Foundation (PTF), two HTC phones sponsored by TelEm Group of Companies, an all-inclusive stay for two at Sonesta Maho Resort and gift baskets from Penha.

Shaneisha also won a pair of pearl and diamond earrings from Diamonds International and a lunch or dinner from Beruit Authentic Cuisine Restaurant for having sold the most tickets for the pageant.

Coming in as first runner-up were Form 3 Science students Jheirhen-Armani France and Shanine Lee. Both Jheirhen-Armani and Shanine received tablets from Blue Point, gift certificates from Holland House, pedicures from Angelic Touch Salon and gift baskets compliments of Avon.

France also won Best Male Academic Student, Mr. Social Media and Best Male Creative School Wear, and additional prizes of a US $50 gift certificate from Mark’s Place and a UTS phone card.

Second runners-up King and Queen receiving gift certificates from Shop and Take Electronics and Van Dorp, lunch or dinner from Pineapple Pete’s and manicures from Indulgence by the Sea were Form 2 student Jose Cruz Nunez and Form 3 student K’nisha Radjouki.

Jose won Best Male Evening Wear and Mr. Photogenic, while K’nisha took the top spot among the girls in the Question and Answer segment.

Fourteen contestants entered the pageant, the first to be hosted by the PTF after a hiatus of close to 20 years. All of them received jewellery from Helena Jewellers.

The Miss Social Media prize went to Form 1 student Declashey Jeffers, while Form 3 student Dawud Chapman received the nod for the Best Male Introduction Speech.

Other contestants who gave strong competition were CAPE first-year student Brandon Blake; Form 1 songbird Beyoncé Williams; Form 3 Science student Angel Morel; Form 3 Business students Shavelle Lawrence and Kai Morton; and Form 4 Business student Russhawn Shirley.

One of the strongest areas of competition took place on the PTF Facebook page, which had more than 12,000 views in the 10 days leading up to the contest. Contestants were encouraged to share and generate likes to win Mr. and Miss Social Media.

The new queen, whose career aim is to become a lawyer, took to social media Sunday to thank all her sponsors and well-wishers.

“It is an honour to be crowned your 2017-2018 Miss St. Maarten Academy. Special thanks to everyone who congratulated me for this big achievement, but in return, I would like to

congratulate my fellow contestants on a job well done at showing excellence at its best and making this show a great success, because we are Academy students!

“One important thing is that the crown doesn’t define moral beauty or courage. It was all about having fun. To everyone on the PTF, Mrs. Lucas and Mrs. Baly, my sponsors, classmates and especially Homeroom teacher Ms. Jacobs, job well done! Continue to help us as St. Maarten Academy students to show school spirit and to live by our motto of caring, learning, achieving, excelling and spreading our fame,” Shaneisha said.

According to PTF President Elroy Hughes, such a successful event could not have been possible without the generous assistance of many companies and people.

“The support of Cornerstone Solutions in building the PTF website free of cost and assisting with the graphics and designs of flyers and tickets, the principal and Hygenix donating the cash for the crowns, other companies such as Omni that donated cash, Artistic Drive doing free photo shoots of the contestants and Rent-A-Sound providing lighting for the event really tells us that there are still many persons and organisations out there willing to invest in our young people. For that, the PTF is eternally grateful,” said Hughes, who himself helped sponsor materials and paint for the stage.

Initially pegged to take place in the open air of the school’s courtyard, the pageant had to be shifted to the gym – a decision that was taken Thursday night after the island experienced inclement weather. Immediately, Malachai Construction came to the aid by building a stage and catwalk in less than 24 hours.

Posh Productions founder, Ms. Mature Queen 2014, Miss Anguilla 1996-97 and Junior Carnival Queen 1998 Ana Rabess-Richardson jumped on board from the beginning, providing sashes for the contestants and some of the materials for building the stage. She was also one of three judges for the Queen category of Saturday night’s pageant.

The other two judges for the girls were Miss St. Maarten 1995, Posh Productions Vice President and Be the Change Foundation member Cassandra Weekes and National Institute of the Arts (NIA) Director Arlene Halley, herself a dance instructor, educator and choreographer.

The evening also marked a proud moment for St. Maarten Academy and Halley to watch a dance by Naomi Warsop and Zacquel Phipps, two NIA students who were selected recently to perform in Europe. Warsop is among the first students in St. Maarten to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Theatre Arts examination currently ongoing.

The seven boys who competed in the King category were judged by beauty expert and stylist Miguel Alexander; Kids Unite Daycare Director, choreographer and dancer Rudy Davis; and Creative Advisor and Managing Director of DLG Enterprises and SXM Party Rentals, interior designer, songwriter, producer and singer Dion Gumbs.

Principal Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool said she was immensely proud of the young scholars who competed in the five-hour-long pageant, as they showcased Academy with pride and grace. They showed what school spirit is all about. She also commended her hardworking teachers and staff, especially pageant coordinator Sharon Layne, who was Ms. Mature Queen 2012.

Among the other sponsors for the event were NAGICO Insurances, Windward Islands Bank, North Eastern Insurances, Orange Grove Pharmacy and DJ Sound System. Some of the other entertainers for the evening were Kenyo Baly and King James, who wowed the crowd.

This is the second major activity hosted by the PTF this year, the first being a highly-successful Family Cultural Fun Day. Already the PTF has earmarked December and next May for both activities.

Source: The Daily Herald