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Issia Thelwell is Miss St. James Festival Queen 2015

Published:Saturday | June 6, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Issia Thelwell (centre) claimed the Miss St James Festival Queen 2015 title. She is flanked by first runner-up Kamoy Thompson (left) and second runner-up Reneka Fowler.

Tears flowed and cheers resounded at the Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay

recently when 21-year-old Issia Thelwell was crowned Miss St James Festival Queen 2015, giving her the opportunity to participate in the 30th annual Miss Jamaica Festival Queen competition.

Thelwell, a graduate of the Montego Bay Community College, with an Associate Degree in Humanities, came out on top ahead of first runner-up Kamoy Thompson and second runner-up Reneka Fowler, while also copping the prizes for Most Culturally Aware and Most Active in the Community.

"I'm extremely happy and elated. It is something I always wanted to do," said Thelwell, who was sponsored by Island Nurse. "I am just extremely proud of myself that I did my community well, and now it is for me to do my city extremely well at the national level."

With her victory at the parish level, Thelwell will join 13 other young women from the different parishes across the island in the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen competition, held this year under the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) theme, 'Jamaica 53 Proud and Free.'

For her parish project as the newly-crowned Festival Queen for St James, Thelwell has decided to focus on promoting literacy.

"I think my parish project will be a book drive because I grew up reading, and that is how I learned to appreciate a lot of things that are around the world that might be different from what I grew up with," said Thelwell. "Reading helps you to appreciate different cultures, different ways of life, and it helps you to learn lots more than you could possibly learn if you were not reading or traveling the world."

In her farewell address, 2014 St James Festival Queen Trudy-Ann Hylton advised her successor to always be a role model and to behave with the dignity befitting a Festival Queen.

"To my successor, do not take this journey lightly. Be a beacon of light and hope for young women everywhere," said Hylton. "Hold your head high because you will not only be a queen for a year, but for the remainder of your life, and you must act as such, and remember to enjoy the trip and to have fun."