Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Miss St Thomas Festival Queen ends successful reign tonight

Published:Saturday | June 15, 2019 | 12:13 AMShanna Kaye Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Shameika Harris, Miss St Thomas Festival Queen 2018-2019
Shameika Harris, Miss St Thomas Festival Queen 2018-2019

“Every queen has a story, a mission to complete and a destiny to fulfil. Our mission is to connect with the minds of the people of our parish and get them to understand that it is only through unity that we can make it a better one. Our duty is to ensure that our history remains relevant, our culture is embraced and that we ‘play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race’,” said Miss St Thomas Festival Queen 2018 Shameika Harris.

The local queen, who admitted having had a great reign, will hand over the crown to her successor later this evening (Saturday, June 15) at the annual coronation show to be held at Colonel Cove in Morant Bay at 8 o’clock.

Harris told Family & Religion that it had always been her passion to aid in the development of St Thomas, as well as to contribute to the cultural awareness and education of the younger generation. She said she found pleasure in assisting the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in achieving this goal.

“It has been a learning experience I will not soon forget, as the many lessons I have learnt throughout this journey will reside with me all my life. I strive to continue the work of fostering a sense of pride in my parish, while working to make better the lives of my fellow Jamaicans better.

“It is my view that my reign has been a success as I continue to carry out volunteer work and projects. My reign as Miss St Thomas Festival Queen has expanded my focus from just the Bath community (where she resides) to communities in all corners of St Thomas, and other communities in the wider Jamaica.

“I have an undying passion for the well-being and education of children, a passion that has led me to visit and speak to several groups of children, motivating them to focus on their education and work towards achieving their goals,” she said.

Zooming in on the scope of work done during her time as St Thomas’ festival queen, Harris said she was able to connect with the Operation Help the People organisation through her friendship with the 2018 Festival Queen of Clarendon, Kimone Rose.

“The organisation selflessly undertook improvement works at the St Thomas-based Font Hill Primary School. It was a pleasure to meet and work with the team in bettering the conditions of the facilities and the lives of the Font Hill Primary School family.

“In my home community of Bath, the Bottom Yard Community Club is one of the main groups contributing to the community’s development. Being a member of this group and undertaking several community projects have formed the foundation of my love for community and country.

“Our elderly treat held in 2018 was also met with great success, in which we fed and gave free health checks to the elderly persons in the community.

“I have always tried my best to have a positive impact on those around me, through even just a kind word or a friendly smile. From the moment of my coronation to this very day, I have encountered persons who have expressed the pride they feel in knowing that St Thomas is being represented at the national level. Each of these interactions motivates me even more to work hard in ensuring that the best representation is made on their behalf. I wore the sash of Miss St Thomas Festival Queen with pride as so many others have done before me,” she said, as she acknowledged that there is still much work to be done and pledged that despite the end of her reign, she will continue to work for the uplifting of St Thomas, its residents and the empowerment and cultural education of all Jamaicans.

And to her successor, Harris said: “JCDC Festival Queen Competition takes great women and transforms them into exceptional beings. I implore her to be ready for this dosage of self enhancement. As queens, we are to remain courageous in trying circumstances. This doesn’t always have to mean being unafraid, but that we don’t allow fear to stop us from doing what we believe must be done. I want the next cultural ambassador of St Thomas to focus on the bigger picture which spans beyond this competition and seeks to use her passion, talent and willpower to empower, inspire and encourage others.

“To Miss St Thomas Festival Queen 2019, thank you for taking on this legacy, and always remember we create a life of purpose when we use our own creative abilities for a greater good,” she ended.