Four weeks of intense rehearsals, three gorgeous Caribbean ladies, two hours to impress the judges, but only one crown to take. On Jan. 21 in the SCC Boardrooms, the stage was set for the second Annual Miss Caribbean Student Association pageant of Saint Leo University, under the Theme “Finding the Queen.”
The Caribbean Students Association at Saint Leo University is an Organization comprised of Students from the Caribbean countries. C.S.A seeks to promote a better understanding and awareness, of the people and cultures of the Caribbean. It creates a diaspora community and a family during the school month and fosters growth between its members and other.
Three ladies, Tamali Smith from Jamaica Gabrielle Stubbs from The Bahamas and Martina Mckoy from Jamaica, vied for the crown and the coveted title of Miss CSA 2017-2018. The night exposed the community of Saint Leo University to an ever-growing Caribbean student population and represented extremely diverse cultures.
The hosts of the night were, CSA Membership Chair Catriel Grant-Hope and CSA member Brandon Huyler. The participants showcased their talents in various forms, wowing the crowd with a song, dance, and spoken word. Both Gabrielle Stubbs and Martina Mckoy offered stellar performances in dance. However, no other was more powerful and thought provoking than the winner, Tamali Smith. Smith, at the end of her interpretive dance piece, recited a spoken word piece that spoke out against women being abused in different forms.
The ladies additionally modeled across the stage adorned in evening gowns, showcasing their sophistication and style and further introducing the crowd to their countries in the Cultural segment. The contestants were posed with one impromptu question, “What does Miss CSA mean to you?”
The judges were thoroughly impressed with the performances and responses of the night. The panel was comprised of Assistant Director of Multicultural and International Affairs and Student Advisor to CSA Carol Grant-Hope, Instructor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management John Heather, Saint Leo Alumni John-Wesley Ingraham and Rannell Smith, and Graduate Student Advisor Kristina Phipps.
International student Raychard Ferguson lauded the event, stating that it was unique and he was happy to have the familiar sights and sounds of his home country, The Bahamas, on display.
Thalia Munoz, Miss CSA 2016-2017 stated,” The Miss CSA pageant 2017 was an amazing journey and such a different experience, as it was the first time I had ever planned a pageant found myself literally on the other side of the stage.”
“I enjoyed the experience and, although it saddens me to leave this position, I know it has been left in good hands,” Munoz added. ” Overall I am extremely proud of the contestants as thy were all my queens and BIG congratulations to Tamali Smith for becoming Miss CSA 2017, I am very Proud!”
After accepting the crown with great surprise, Smith said: “I feel honored and elated, for the experience that all of us had. It was a good experience that permitted me to believe in myself, and I am indeed honored to represent my country and Saint Leo University.”
When asked what she was looking forward to in the coming year, Smith stated: “I am looking forward to community service, having experienced great joy in the level of Community Service opportunities under Thalia’s reign.”
Smith continued to explain that, as her monolog emphasized, she is very passionate about domestic violence and seeks to serve those victims while in her capacity as Miss CSA. With grace, charisma, and passion unparalleled, Smith has proven that her winning the title of Miss CSA was fate.