Miss Boscobel wins crown and confidence in St Mary competition
An annual beauty pageant that aims to engage and boost the confidence of young girls in rural communities on St Mary's north coast has been hailed as a success by its participants and local residents.
The Miss Boscobel contest was organised last weekend by the local Red Cross's Community Disaster Response Team, which targets vulnerable residents living in the Gully Road and Mango Valley districts of Boscobel,
Judges selected 11-year-old Retreat Primary and Junior High School student Sheriann Burrell as the winner, and the charismatic young beauty queen was overjoyed to collect the title, crown, and winning prize of a tablet computer.
Burrell, who hopes to become a paediatrician after graduating from university, told Rural Xpress: "I feel very excited about winning because there was a 17-year-old in the competition, and I really thought she was going to beat me.
"I think the reason I won is because I'm confident in myself, and I feel even more confident now that I have beaten someone who is much older than me."
President of the Red Cross in Boscobel, Sharon Scott, said: "As the winner of this competition, [Burrell] will hold the title 'Miss Boscobel' for a year, and the tablet will help with her school and homework.
"We started hosting this pageant last year to help more girls gain confidence. I think it's an important event, particularly for girls living in these areas because they don't get a lot of exposure, and people tend to put them aside.
a chance to be seen
"Usually, they go to school in the area where they live and don't go on any trips, so people hardly see or know them, but the pageant gives them a chance to be seen by the wider world."
Local Member of Parliament (MP) Jolyan Silvera agreed. After presenting Burrell with her prize and certificate of participation, he said: "It's essential that we consider the developing personalities and confidence in young people, so they can move forward.
"The world today is very competitive, and taking part in pageants such as these teaches girls certain protocols and things that will help them out in later life, and that's why I'm supporting this initiative by offering a tablet to the winner."
The MP for Western St Mary commended the Red Cross for its commitment to community development and noted that young people and their education would be a priority over the next 12 months.
He added: "I will be focusing on education, developing community by community. It has to be a parochial approach. It can't be an overarching thing because every community differs.
"At the end of the day, I would like to fulfil my dream of seeing this constituency with an overall development plan that has been enacted, even if it takes a while to come to fruition."