Miss Holetown shares journey to crown and views on education
It was crunch time. And with just days to go before the annual Miss Holetown Queen Of The Festival Pageant, 21-year-old Sheryl Forde was extremely doubtful about her chances of winning the crown.
That’s because other than the red glitzy Lester Welch gown which she wore on stage at the Frederick Smith School Auditorium, nothing else was coming together.
Understandably, she was frantic, and as she searched for someone to build the prop for her dramatic presentation entitled Is There Any Way Out, her tears flowed.
After choosing not to enter for the 2017 competition due to work commitments, travelling and school, her long-time dream of winning the title appeared to be slipping away again.
“Preparation for the pageant started last year and everything was fine . . . . During that time more events started to come around so we had to make numerous appearances. So when February came I felt like time was against me. I started to cry because there wasn’t anything that was coming together for me besides my gown.
“Up to the week of the show I was calling around and saying ‘I don’t know who is going to build this prop. My mum [Jennifer Forde] kept saying ‘it will be fine don’t worry about it’, but it was hard not to,” Sheryl said.
Recently at Queen’s Park, Forde came armed with her crown and multiple trophies which she earned on the finals night. She was now able to laugh about the head-spinning situation.
“I ended up venting to my teacher, letting him know the pageant is on Sunday, and my prop hasn’t even been built. Then another teacher [Kerwin Callender] who teaches at her alma mater Deighton Griffith in the Industrial Department] said ‘don’t worry, I got you. I am going to build the prop, all you have to do worry about the other things. Just pick it up when you need it’,” she said as she recalled breathing a sigh of relief.
Sheryl then went on to wow the modest crowd as she showed off her acting skills behind prison bars, [the prop] as she played a mother of two who was a product of poverty and abuse. Her desperate character trafficked drugs to provide for her family but she eventually got caught by immigration. The performance was so good that it earned her the Best Talent Award.
Sheryl is not the in-your-face type of queen. She is quite reserved and leaves the show for the stage. However, because she wants people to get to know her a bit better, she now builds her leisure and travel page on YouTube – Sheryl Natasha.
A former Miss Barbados Caribbean, she is also national dancer of Livy & Betty Alleyne Ballroom Dance Centre, where she has been since age seven. She attended Vauxhall Primary, before moving onto Deighton and later Queen’s College for sixth form where she placed second in their Mr and Miss Queen’s College pageant.
Just as she is passionate about the stage, a similar fire burns inside of her about the educational system and youth empowerment. This explains why she changed her major at the University of the West Indies from international relations to linguistics with a minor in education, and dreams of being a secondary school teacher.
“We need to approach the classroom setting differently because each student learns differently, even though we are all afforded the same educational opportunities. Yes, your job as a teacher is to come and teach syllabi, but it has to [be] more than that,” she told EASY.
Regarding violence in schools, Sheryl said: “I think that is increasingly alarming and we need to take a step back and not just say it’s ‘up the security at the schools’. We need to figure out what the root cause is, what is the background, what is happening in the home.”
She believes that adults need to adopt the approach of her mother, who is a single parent. As her mother did her best to raise her, her older sister Simone and youngest Kayla, she said her mother never stopped being a great listener.
“She always took the time. Even if we weren’t comfortable discussing what happened throughout our day, she would ask that we express ourselves, and offer advice.
“I’m not speaking as a teacher because I’m not one yet, but from a student’s perspective there are some students who aren’t given the time, and their built-up aggression or issues come out [as] violence.
So as adults I think we don’t listen enough because we believe we know best; so it’s ‘do what I say’. But if we just take the time to listen to what children have to say and understand what they are going through and try to emphasise and try to show them there is a solution other than violence, there could be some change,” she added. (TG)