May 20, 2004 When Shannon Skokos moved to the Virgin Islands in 2002 she wanted to do something for the new place she now called home.
"My husband and I wanted to get involved in the community," Skokos said.
Skokos decided to assist young women with scholarship opportunities and petitioned the Miss America Organization to "let the Virgin Islands in."
"The Miss America organization is the single largest source of scholarships for women in the world," Skokos, a former Miss America Pageant contestant, said.
In February of 2003, the Miss America Organization approved Skokos requests resulting in the Miss Virgin Islands Scholarship organization.
Now after a year of planning and fundraising, the first Miss Virgin Islands Scholarship Pageant will take place May 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Reichhold Center for the Arts. The winner of this pageant will have the privilege of competing in the Miss America Pageant.
"We're the first territory to be entering in the national pageant," Skokos said. "This is the first new franchise in 54 years granted by Miss America." The last one to be granted was to Alaska in 1950.
Five young ladies will be vying in this first pageant: Kinila Callendar, a 23-year-old graduate from the University of the Virgin Islands; Chanel Ruan, a 22-year-old junior at the University of the Virgin Islands; Jessica Shuler, a 20-year-old junior at Villanova University; Davina Martinez, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Puerto Rico; and Halima Roebuck, a 17-year-old graduate of St. Croix Educational Complex.
The show will also feature a cast of former Miss America contestants including the reigning Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap. Special guest entertainers include local youth choir Youths 'N Harmony, United Voices, Arkansas-based gospel singer Evangeline Parker and jazz vocalist Allan Harris from New York.
Tickets on St. Thomas are on sale at the Reichhold Center Box Office, Modern Music Havensight, Modern Music Nisky, Parrot Fish, Home Again, Krystal Gifts and UVI Bookstore. In St. Croix tickets can be purchased at People's Drugstore.
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