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Crowning moment for CedarBridge’s student leaders 

Crowning moment for CedarBridge’s student leaders




It’s not every day that students can promote change within their school or share ideas with the Country’s leader all while wearing a crown but two young people are gearing up to do just that.

Shakaila Tankard, 17, and Khaivon Castro, 18, were named Miss and Mr CedarBridge Academy in a pageant held recently.

They now serve as representatives for the entire student body and, according to Khaivon, may be able to present their ideas to better the school environment to the Premier.

Both S4 students spoke to The Royal Gazette about the new roles and said they were looking forward to getting their voices heard and serving as role models to their peers.

“We are pretty much the voice of CedarBridge Academy now,” said Shakaila. “I am excited because we get to be heard. A lot of times young people’s voices aren’t counted and their ideas aren’t recognised.”

She said she normally shies away from the spotlight, but boldly put her fears of public speaking aside to take part in the annual pageant.

“I always wanted to enter it from S1 because I thought it would be a nice experience and I get stage fright so I thought it would be a way to gain confidence when I speak in public.”

Each year students are judged on their stage presence, personality, career aspirations and how they answer questions relating to local current events.

The pageant, which is currently in its 12th year, is the oldest running student activity and helps students raise funds for their yearbook and prom.

A total of 17 young people entered this year and were judged by former CedarBridge Academy students.

Shakaila said she was proud of her performance “because normally if I start something that has to do with being on stage I wouldn’t do it, I would find a way out.

“But I followed through with it and achieved my goals for entering the pageant.”

Khaivon said he was equally impressed with how he did and his ability to think on his feet. “When I was practicing it was taking me a long time to answer the questions and get them down.

“But during the pageant I felt I was comfortable and didn’t let my nervousness get the best of me.”

Both young people are actively involved with extra-curricular activities. Khaivon serves as captain of the under 18 national team for basketball, President of CedarBridge’s National Honours Society and is part of the leadership team with the AME church’s Young People’s Division (YPD).

He wants to design sneakers and hats when he gets older and aspires to get a business degree from Bentley University in the United States, before getting his master’s degree from Harvard.

Shakaila is president of the school’s ‘Teen Girls in Focus’ club which encourages young women to “better themselves and build confidence”.

She is also a school prefect and volunteers with the Bermuda Hospitals Board. She wants to specialise in mammography after learning about the hospital’s diagnostic imaging services, which she found “fascinating”.

The teenager also hopes to be a positive example for other young girls “because I have my own mind that is what makes me stand out more. I do not follow what everyone does, I try to set my own path for myself.”

Khaivon hopes younger students see him as a role model and said he wants to be someone who they turn to for advice and support.

He also wants to ensure young people are enjoying their time at school “happy to learn and at the same time able to work towards their dreams and they are not blocked”.

Shakaila said she wanted to see students strive to compete on the international stage. “I would like to see all high schools, not just CedarBridge, setting students up more beyond the horizons of Bermuda.

“We always work to achieve things locally but when we go away internationally we have to compete with other students. I would like more emphasis to be on that.”