Megan Scott awarded title; enjoys pageant experience
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.