Car­ni­val fun

Me­gan Scott awarded ti­tle; en­joys pageant ex­pe­ri­ence

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSALYN ROY

Me­gan Scott se­lected as Win­ter Car­ni­val queen.

Per­haps it was only fit­ting that the Win­ter Car­ni­val be­gan on the eve of a nasty storm. On Fri­day, March 10 Me­gan Scott was crowned as the new queen of the Port aux Basques event.

“I was shocked,” ad­mit­ted the 11th grader. “I thought all the girls had such a good chance. The judges must have had a re­ally hard time.”

The pageant is a cor­ner­stone for the town’s car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions and one of the few that ac­tu­ally man­aged to take place given the harsh weather that per­sisted through­out the week­end, caus­ing al­most ev­ery other event to be can­celled.

There’s a process to se­lect­ing the new queen. Af­ter the young ladies an­nounce their can­di­dacy they must go through an eval­u­a­tion via an in­for­mal din­ner with the judges be­fore the mod­el­ing at­tire and de­liv­er­ing their crafted, re­hearsed speeches.

Me­gan’s two and a half minute speech on fem­i­nism and equal­ity took her al­most three weeks to com­pose, in­clud­ing time she spent on re­search.

“I wanted to work on my pub­lic speak­ing,” she said, cit­ing it as her pri­mary mo­ti­va­tion for en­ter­ing the pageant, along with the chance to en­joy an event with a great group of her peers.

Wanda Lawrence, who has helped co­or­di­nate the pageant since the mid

90s, sees the pageant as an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for the girls to boost their con­fi­dence and self-es­teem.

“Most ev­ery year you get a girl who’s re­ally shy and it brings them out,” says Lawrence.

“You see them on­stage and to speak in pub­lic in front of a cou­ple hun­dred peo­ple. That’s some­thing that they’ve never done be­fore.”

The new Win­ter Car­ni­val queen agrees, say­ing she’s never re­ally done any­thing like this be­fore, even though she is a vol­ley­ball player and a mem­ber of the Credit Union’s Youth Coun­cil.

“It was a bit nerve rack­ing in the be­gin­ning,” she ad­mits about the in­for­mal din­ner, say­ing her com­fort level grew as the evening went on. And al­though she had to model and dance, she takes ex­cep­tion with the idea that this pageant some­how ob­jec­ti­fies its par­tic­i­pants.

“We all felt re­ally con­fi­dent go­ing out there,” says Me­gan, who claims she got a lot out of the ex­pe­ri­ence. “It’s a dif­fer­ent feel­ing get­ting out in front of all those peo­ple. It’s also a nice way to make friends.”

Lawrence would like to see the word pageant come off the event al­to­gether, afraid that it gives peo­ple the wrong idea en­tirely about the mo­tives of not only the or­ga­niz­ers but also the girls them­selves. She thinks pre­sent­ing the win­ner with the ti­tle of Win­ter Car­ni­val Am­bas­sador would be much more ac­cu­rate.

“It’s not a beauty pageant,” she was quick to re­ply. “It has noth­ing to do with how they look phys­i­cally, where they come from, their back­ground, noth­ing. It’s just to do with peo­ple get­ting to­gether, want­ing to vol­un­teer, want­ing to help out.”

Even­tu­ally per­haps the ti­tle may change but the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties won’t. For the next year Me­gan will rep­re­sent the town at most com­mu­nity events, help­ing chil­dren, se­niors, and who­ever else may need her at­ten­tion un­til next win­ter when she passes those du­ties on to her suc­ces­sor.

Win­ter Car­ni­val queen Me­gan Scott.

Win­ter Car­ni­val pageant con­tes­tants.

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