Youth advocate fulfils lifelong dream
Sherai Campbell named Miss St Mary Festival Queen
Miss St Mary Festival Queen 2023 Sherai Campbell said winning the competition is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
“It’s truly exciting. I feel like I have accomplished a major milestone of mine. I had a lot of people counting on me, telling me that they really wanted me to get the title and they were really supportive, so I feel pleased with myself to know that I was able to fulfil the expectations that these persons had for me,” said Campbell.
The 21-year-old was crowned at the parish coronation held last Saturday, at the Anglican Church Hall in Port Maria. Second place in the competition went to 19-year-old Tadwaine Wilson, who was also named Most Popular on Social Media. Third place went to 18-year-old Kevaughna Brown.
The event, organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), was held under the theme, ‘The Jamaican Woman: Strong, Dignified, Creative’.
For her victory, Campbell received a cash prize of $75,000 courtesy of Ruban Construction Boutique Ltd, and gift packages. She also received four sectional prizes for Most Culturally Aware, Most Active in the Community, Most Poised and Best Performance.
Campbell said she has long had a love of pageants. “I entered my first pageant when I was in grade three. JCDC got my attention in 2012 when Kemesha Kelly was crowned the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen. I watched it every year after that … I admire the way the queens carry themselves and are able to influence people positively,” said Campbell.
As a youth advocate, Campbell has participated in various youth-centred initiatives organised by the St Mary Parish Youth Council. She also serves as a host on Talk Up Yout, a popular radio programme, and at the community level she established the Youth of Three Hills Community Club.
“The club started in 2021 during the COVID pandemic when most youth were engaged in online learning ... There are many skilled and talented youth in my community and I wanted that to be highlighted and to form like a fraternity. We carry out tree planting and clean-up day activities in addition to other projects organised by the St Mary Parish Youth Council,” she explained.
Campbell is confident that she will win the national title in August. “I am motivated to go into Kingston and to give my 100 per cent best … knowing that it’s not just my family, friends and well-wishers who are supporting me and rallying for me but it’s a whole parish. I feel so compelled to put my best foot forward, brush up on every aspect of what is required to become the queen and go out there and do my best. I know I have it within me to definitely get the crown this year. St Mary has not held the crown since 2018 so I feel so determined to get it back to our parish,” she said.
The Gleaner intern further notes that the festival queen title gives her the opportunity to reach more youth, not just in St Mary but nationally, as well as it adds credibility and allows her to have additional influence.
The Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition is a signature programme of the JCDC. It focuses on leadership, appreciation of the role of women, culture, creative talent, and community involvement. It is open to young women between the ages of 18 and 25.
St Mary’s coronation brings the number of parish queens crowned in this year’s staging to two. Clarendon also crowned its queen on Saturday at the Hotel Versalles in May Pen. She is Shanecia Daley, a radio personality and student of The University of the West Indies.