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Tanja Powell Dances Away with Celebration Crown

June 20, 2004 – Five St. Johnians competed Saturday night for the title of 50th anniversary July 4th Celebration Queen. Before an appreciative crowd, 19-year-old Tanja Powell, a graduate of All Saints Cathedral School, separated herself from the pack with a light-footed medley showing off quelbe, ethnic and jazz steps and danced away with the crown.
Powell also received the Most Talented, Most Photogenic and Most Cooperative awards and was named Best Dressed in both international wear — appearing as an Aztec butterfly goddess — and in evening wear.
Lynia Liburd, a student at Benedict College in South Carolina, was named Miss Congeniality and first runner-up. Shelley Chinnery won the title of Miss Intellect and was named second runner-up.
At the end of a 4½-hour competition at Winston Wells Ballpark, well wishers swarmed to the stage to hug and congratulate the new St. John queen, who is the daughter of Ralph and Ulrike Powell,
"I feel overwhelmed, excited – any positive word, I'm feeling it!" Queen Tanja said, adding, "Happy carnival, everyone."
Powell's mother, who at the triumphant moment bustled behind the stage, dodging props that were being packed away, stopped for a moment to reflect on her daughter's victory. Tanja resisted earlier appeals to run for queen, Ulrike Powell said, but this year a group of friends, including a pageant chaperone, changed her mind.
"This year her friends encouraged her, and one of them was a chaperone. And of course she wanted to win the car," Ulrike Powell said. "I'm very proud of her. She worked hard."
Like the 50th anniversary queens of V.I. Carnival 2002 and the Crucian Christmas Festival of 2002-03, the queen of St. John's golden jubilee came away with her own chariot — in this case, a 2004 Toyota Rav 4. Parked outside the Leander Jurgens Police Command in Cruz Bay in the weeks leading up to Saturday night's pageant, the car was moved to the ballfield, stage right, in time for the contest.
As part of the golden jubilee festivities, St. John queens abounded at Saturday's event. In the front two rows of the audience sat a living tribute to 45 years of St. John crowning events: former queens from the first pageant in 1960 and about 20 others since. As guests of honor, they had a close-up view of what turned out to be a lavish and glamorous show.
Four of the past queens — Beulah Dalmida Smith, Cheri Boynes-Jackson, Sharelle Dalmida Francis and Carmen Wesselhoft — shared master/mistress of ceremonies duties with Irvin "Brownie" Brown, introducing the swimwear, international wear, talent and evening wear segments.
Then came the parade of past queens, starting with the former Elsie Roberts, now Elsie Thomas Trotman, and ending with the 2003 queen, Sadia Newsome. Also taking part, along with Smith, Jackson, Francis and Wesselhoft, were Eugenie Dalmida, Sprauve-Penn, Patricia Matthias Callwood, Joycelyn Jacobs, Onika Williams (representing her late mother, Carolyn Jackson), Faith Blake Wallace, Abigail Hendricks, Lisa Abramson Penn, Carla Sewer, Sheri Smith, Luella Callwood, Suzette Kelly, Catikawa Richardson and Haley Kahlani Cagan.
Among them were:
– Three sets of mothers and daughters, Eugenie Dalmida and Sharelle Francis, Hendricks and Cagan, and Jacobs and Newsome.
– One former St. John deputy police commissioner, Thomas-Trotman.
– One former Planning and Natural Resources commissioner, Dalmida-Smith.
– And two actresses, Sewer and Kelly; a gospel singer, Callwood; an educator, Abramson-Penn; and a barge captain, Boynes-Jackson.
Boynes-Jackson also won the St. Thomas Queen of the Band title for the Hugga Bunch troupe in 2002. Cagan was a St. John princess before being crowned queen in 2002.

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