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Counts Crowned Carnival Queen

April 17, 2005 – The new Queen of Carnival greeted her subjects Saturday night from the stage of the Lionel Roberts Stadium. At the end of a four hour competition, 17-year-old K'misha-Victoria Counts smiled and waved as the crowd cheered her coronation. It was only at the moment she began to speak that a wave of emotion rippled across her composure.
"Thank you so much. You've been a welcoming audience, and I hope I can reign suitably and please my community," said Queen K'misha, pausing once or twice as the tears began to flow.
Counts, a senior at Charlotte Amalie High School, was one of the crowd favorites among a field of five contestants. But she was not the only one. First runner-up Taiesha Lashley, 17, also had a large, vocal throng of supporters.
Most of the honors at the end of the night were divvied up between the two. Lashely was judged most cooperative and as having had the best cultural costume. She also was presented with a framed portrait of herself as part of the award for winning Miss Photogenic.
Counts won the titles of Miss Intellect, Best Evening Wear and Best Talent.
On stage, as she received the sash and crown that go along with her new title, Counts wore a strapless white form-fitting gown decorated with crystals and black embroidery.
And for the 2005 Carnival Queen, winning the talent title is almost an understatement. Before she ever appeared in this competition, she had already won the Hal Jackson's Virgin Islands Talented Teen title, as well as Miss Caribbean Talented Teen. She placed fourth in the Hal Jackson's International Talented Teen contest.
Contestant No. Two, Gail Maduro, won the title of Miss Congeniality, and Contestant No. Five, Shenika Freeman, won Second Runner-Up.
All of the contestants did their part to keep the audience engaged. They began with a tango-style introductory dance number, sailed through swimwear and frolicked across the stage in cultural attire before returning in glory, bedecked in dazzling gowns.
The winning cultural presentation featured Lashley dressed as Bluebeard the pirate, sitting on a treasure chest as the character recalled the role that pirates played in Virgin Islands history.
But for many in the audience, the talent segment was the best part. "I like the talent because its the most exciting," said Shamika Clarke, a student at the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School.
Before they left the stadium, the crowd was invited to hear the first command of their new Carnival Queen: "Be responsible, be respectful, and enjoy yourselves."

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