T wo Form Six students were crowned Mr and Miss Sanfest 2023 in the final of the competition at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, recently.
Anthony Allen, 18, of Princes Town West Secondary School, and 17-year-old Kurtijah Ross, of Naparima Girls’ High School, were all smiles as they collected the winning trophies at the end of the 54th staging of the competition.
Allen said he was pleasantly surprised when he secured a place in the final and was then declared the winner in his category.
In the semi-final, he was hospitalised after suffering a seizure and said making it to the final was his escape from the seriousness of the world.
“Preparing for the show was a roller coaster of emotions, I would wake up happy, couldn’t get out a part in something, so I’m crying,” he said.
“I suffer from seizures. I didn’t want it mentioned because I didn’t want sympathy. I wanted to work hard for what I wanted. I have been participating in Sanfest since I was in Form Two.”
He added, “Drama is a time I can express myself, I can roll on the ground and I won’t be judged. Drama is what makes me come alive. I think an art subject should be mandatory. It’s a good stress reliever; in terms of Science, you go home not sure if your graphs are correct, or your calculations are correct, so when you doing drama there is no right or wrong way to answer. Yes, it has a structure you have to follow but there is no right or wrong way to express yourself in visual arts.”
Allen, who wants to become a medical doctor, and specifically either a cardiologist or surgeon, shared the winners’ spotlight with Ross, who did a monologue inspired by a poem from Nigerian poet Gabriel Okara’s Once Upon a Time.
Ross said the focus of her presentation offers was false people.
“We show false faces all the time and we should change that, we should change and show more realistic sides of ourselves,” said Ross, who wants to work with other young people and help them to make their passion a reality.
Winners in the special categories were Emmanuel Stewart and Kurtijah Ross for Best Cultural Wear, Nissi Henry and Jeremy Greene for Best Talents, and Ross for Best Community Project. Placing second to fifth in the male category were Che-Nathaniel Knight, Jordan Jitta, Emmanuel Stewart and Jeremy Greene. In the female category, second to fifth were Britney Hitlal, Lekiah Samuel, Nissi Henry and Britney Marshall.