Amanda Marsh almost didn’t enter the Miss St. Ann Festival Queen competition.

“At first, I was a bit hesitant because I was wondering if I can do it,” she said.

The 21-year-old is now convinced that she made the right decision, having triumphed over the four other contestants during a private two-day judging session.

“I found out that it wasn’t challenging when it comes on to competing against the other contestants because they were like family,” she said.

“The only pressure we had was to get things done in a particular time period because of COVID-19. It was a good experience for all of us. We learnt more about our culture, parishes, country, and current affairs.”

Placing the icing on the proverbial cake, Marsh copped three of the competition’s four sectional prizes – Best Performance, Most Culturally Aware, and Most Active in the Community.

The other category – Most Poised – was won by 22-year-old student Kizwani Todd, who also is the First Runner-Up. The Second Runner-Up is Eden Palmer, a 24-year-old entrepreneur.

Marsh told The Beacon that, now that she is the winner in St. Ann, she will use the platform to make a positive difference.

“My reason for entering the competition was my burning desire to inspire and motivate individuals especially our youths and the young at heart,” she said. “I want to remind persons that regardless of their circumstances, with determination and focus, they can succeed.”

The win also presents an opportunity for Marsh to, first and foremost, represent her parish at the national level of the competition, hosted by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

“I am going forward into the competition knowing that I have accomplished a lot for my parish and my community as well,” said Marsh, a resident of Dunnsville district.

She is an alumna of Ocho Rios Primary School, and Iona High where she served as Head Girl. She is now pursuing the Sciences at Moneague College, where she also is a member of the band and the culture club.

Marsh stated that she initially wanted to become a medical doctor, but she now intends to study nursing at the University of the West Indies.

She also has a penchant for the performing arts, in which she has reaped enormous success especially as a singer.

She recalled being a member of the Iona High School Choir that finished second in the 2015 staging of the popular television competition – All Together Sing.

Marsh also entered the JCDC music festival competition, and won gold at both the parish and national levels.

She, last year, entered the same music festival for Moneague College. She earned a gold medal at the parish level, but the national finals were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Moneague College this year also saw it fit to award Marsh for outstanding contribution to music at the institution.

“I am a Gospel singer, but I also do Jazz and I do Souls as well,” said Marsh, a Christian.

She worships at the Emmanuel Faith Church Of God in Dunnsville where she serves as the dance director and director of the youth choir.

She encourages other Christians not to shy away from the festival queen competition, thinking it is secular.

“My church or denomination did not have a problem with me going into the competition,” Marsh said. “It has been a wonderful experience for me, and I would encourage anyone to enter as well.”


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By Mills