In the wee hours of Sunday morning, after a selection show filled with spectacular costumes, fancy gowns and larger than life stage props, the judges finally crowned Charlotte Amalie High School senior Adisha Penn the 2013 V.I. Carnival Queen.
Charlotte Amalie High School was represented by three students – Penn, along with Marlika Williams and A’yana Phillips – while Ivanna Eudora Kean’s T’Andra Garnette was popular with the crowd. Rounding out the group was Pia Nicholson from Sts. Peter and Paul, who brought her own voice and personality to the stage as she opted to do her own announcing.
From the beginning, even the radio personalities broadcasting the event said they couldn’t tell who the winner would be. Each contestant was the best at something, but at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, it was Penn wearing the crown after capturing the awards for Miss Intellect, Miss Congeniality and Best Talent. She won the latter for a musical performance she gave while dancing around the Lionel Roberts Stadium stage dressed as a mocko jumbie.
Penn, the reigning Miss CAHS, is a member of her high school’s marching and symphonic bands and showcased her skills during the talent segment by playing the flute and violin, combining the music of the past – music that she said her great grand-father, as the territory’s first mocko jumbie, listened to – with the more calypso and soca-infused melodies of today. Penn said she also was paying tribute to modern mocko jumbies, whose costumes have become more glamorized over the years, to include sequins, ruffled tops and longer, more decorated, pants.
The award for Miss Intellect is given to the contestant that scores the highest during the question and answer segment. Asked what magazine she would like to appear on the cover of and why, Penn named Upfront Magazine – a classroom news magazine published by Scholastic – which she said inspired students to be "the best they can be" both in academic and vocational settings.
Penn is the 15th consecutive Carnival Queen from Charlotte Amalie High School.
Kean’s Garnette was named first runner up Sunday morning, and also picked up the awards for Miss Photogenic and Best Promotional Campaign – a new category this year. Garnette’s supporters were visible throughout the crowd, and they were not disappointed during the evening as Garnette showed off her dancing skills during the talent segment, or glided across the stage in a diamond inspired dress during the evening wear segment that she said paid tribute to all the "diamonds," or inspirational people, in her life.
The crowd even went a little wild as Garnette paid tribute to the territory’s musicians in the cultural and historical costume segment, which honored everyone from the famous Nicholas "Daddy" Friday to radio personality Irvin "Brownie" Browne.
"If you are a proud Virgin Islander, this music is in your soul," Garnette said.
CAHS’ Williams took the third runner up spot, along with the awards for Miss Cooperative and Best Historical/Cultural Costume. She also appeared to be an audience favorite during the talent segment, where she showcased her love of art by painting a mural on stage that depicted a pristine Caribbean scene fanned by palm trees.
Williams also spoke about the benefits of art education durning the question and answer segment, where she asked what Senate bill she would support and why. Art is an equalizer, she said, and a good outlet for students looking to vent their frustrations.
Rounding out the group, Phillips took the award for Best Evening Wear.