While the Queen Show is always one of the most anticipated nights of the St. John Festival season, this year’s event — with three top-notch competitors and impressive choreography — is expected to be one of the best shows ever.
Last year’s Festival Queen, Moremi Aderohunmu, will be passing her crown off to Shanekua Lee, Jenicia Dalmida or Dior Monet Parsons on Saturday evening, June 23, at 8 p.m. at the Winston Wells Ball Field.
Lee, 17, is the daughter of Catherine and Ronald Lee Sr. and just graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School. She will join the armed forces next year as a member of the U.S. Navy.
“I’ll be serving in the Navy for six years,” said Lee. “After my service I will go to college and study business management and one day start my own business.”
The future servicewoman joined the Queen competition only a month ago, which spelled hard work for her chaperone Sherise Smith.
“I really need to thank my chaperone,” said Lee. “She has worked so hard with me because I just entered the contest a month ago. We’ve had a lot to do in that short time.”
Being a role model to her younger sisters inspired Lee to vie for the crown.
“I figured it would be a very good experience for me,” she said. “I thought it would be a lot of fun too — and it is. I wanted to give my younger sisters someone to look up to also.”
Lee offered some advise to her siblings and other young girls out there who are dreaming of being part of the St. John Queen competition one day.
“Be confident,” she said. “Remember, whatever you want to pursue, always try your hardest and reach for the stars.”
There were two other people who helped Lee achieve her goals — her parents.
“I want to thank my parents who have supported me throughout this whole process,” she said. “They have had my back from the beginning to the end.”
Dalmida, 18, graduated from the British Virgin Islands High School in Tortola last year and now works as a cashier at Paradise Lumber. The St. John native moved to Tortola after her father Jason passed away.
“After my dad passed, my mother remarried a man from Tortola so we moved there in 2001,” said Dalmida. “It was really hard for me because I am St. Johnian through and through. I even have a birthmark in the shape of St. John on my leg.”
“It was awful at the time, but I grew to love it,” Dalmida continued. “It wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Being the center of attention will be a new experience for this Queen contestant.
“I’ve never done anything that caused me to be in the spotlight, so I thought this would be a really good experience for me,” Dalmida said. “This is really getting me out of my comfort zone which is a good thing too.”
The memory of her father was another reason Dalmida decided to compete for the Queen title.
“I also wanted to do this for my dad’s memory,” she said. “He did so much for the community, I thought I could do something as a tribute to him.”
Dalmida, who plans to study architecture and one day return to Love City to design buildings, admitted she has not been the easiest contestant for her chaperone Leanne Oquendo.
“I have not been the best contestant,” said Dalmida. “I was easily frustrated and didn’t have the best attitude. I wanted to give up a few times, but I stuck with it and I’m still here.”
Determination is key to being a part of the Queen show, Dalmida explained.
“Anyone who wants to compete should be ready for a lot of work,” she said. “Be dedicated. You might get frustrated and you might not want to follow through with it, but do.”
“I am speaking from experience, it’s worth it,” Dalmida added.
Parsons, 17, will be a senior at All Saints Cathedral School and is the daughter of Delia Smith and Delbert Parsons. She feels she is a great representative for Love City.
“I feel I am the right person to represent St. John,” said Parsons. “I live life to the fullest and am peaceful and work hard to get what I want.”
This future pediatrician stressed the importance of hard work for other young ladies.
“I would tell anyone who wants to run for Queen to always work hard,” Parsons said.