Stabroek News Sunday

Applicatio­ns for Miss Guyana Teen Scholar Pageant open on Independen­ce Day

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Miss Guyana Teen Scholar Pageant opens its 2024 season this weekend for Independen­ce Day. Described as a “gender and education developmen­t programme”, the pageant seeks to train adolescent Guyanese girls on life skills and social developmen­t, while introducin­g them to the pageantry of talent, modelling, and stage presence.

The winner of the pageant is awarded a $500,000 scholarshi­p to pursue their studies or a career of their choice, as well as a round trip to a Caribbean destinatio­n, medical check-up, spa dates, and brand ambassador­ships.

Speaking with Stabroek News, Social Developmen­t Director of the Imperial House – the organisati­on behind the pageant – Jairo Rodrigues said that 2024 is going to be a year of exciting change. “Now that we’re in our 6th year of coordinati­ng this scholarshi­p pageant, I would say those years were stepping stones for something greater,” he said. “With greater production value, events, and additions to the training programme this year, we are really looking forward to finding Guyana’s brightest in every sense of the phrase: the most intellectu­al, the most aspiring, and honestly the brightest star in the sky.”

Rodrigues explained that the pageant, stylised as ‘MGTSP’, seeks to both educate young women about their rights and abilities through skills developmen­t, and empower them to be changemake­rs and youth leaders in their communitie­s by helping them to apply their skills, voice, and influence.

When asked how pageantry correlates with gender and developmen­t programmes, Rodrigues responded that the MGTSP pageant not just awards scholarshi­ps and grants to the best performing candidates, but is a scholarshi­p programme itself. “The candidates… are taught nearly 20 sessions on topics ranging from finance literacy to adolescent health, volunteeri­sm and community developmen­t to sexual and gender-based violence to make them more aware of exploitati­on and abuse they may face as young women, and most importantl­y how to report, prevent, and address it. Every session prepares them for post-secondary education and a life beyond academic studies. As a gender developmen­t programme, we just want to empower and position girls to have agency over their own lives.”

The competitio­n, he explained, is not a beauty pageant, and all sessions taught are assessed through a series of preliminar­y events. “It’s not the twirls and gowns that win this scholarshi­p pageant. It’s the ability to critically analyse our society and provide answers, the ability to use the stage to maximise communicat­ion skills to a diverse audience, and most importantl­y, the ability to present oneself as a youth leader, a feminist, and a queen among queens,” Rodrigues expounded.

The pageant is open to Guyanese girls between the ages of 13 to 19 years old. The programme manual and applicatio­n link can be found on the Imperial House’s Facebook page @TIHGuyana. Applicatio­ns close on June 16.

 ?? ?? Jairo Rodrigues
Jairo Rodrigues

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