ST. THOMAS — Intelligent, shy and polite are three words that describe this year’s Belle of the Ball winner Ketura Harrigan, above, a 17 year honor student who graduated from the Charlotte Amalie High School on Sunday at number 15 in her class, and became the 7th graduating senior from the U.S. Virgin Islands within the past four years to win the experience of becoming the “Belle of the Ball”.
Belle of the Ball sees a graduating senior being gifted an over-the-top prom experience, including pampering, primping and hair styling, makeup, manicures and pedicures, designer dress and accessories, among other lavish treats to make for a once-in-a-lifetime prom encounter.
According to a recently issued release, out of 15 applications submitted from St.Thomas and St. John, Miss Harrigan was selected as this year’s winner. Her impressive essay, dedication to her studies and involvement in extracurricular activities, made her stand out as a well-rounded candidate, according to the release. Miss Harrigan’s willingness to serve her community through service and her drive towards success resonated with both Aniska Tonge of 4Her Foundation and Taiesa Lashley of VI Pageantry, organizers of the annual treat.
Ms. Tonge, a former Miss U.S. Virgin Islands, and Ms. Lashley are both passionate about service and worked diligently with sponsors to make the winner’s prom experience magical, said the release.
Unfortunately, the Belle of the Ball usual sponsor, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, was unable to assist due to damages from the hurricanes. Ms. Tonge and Ms. Lashley knew that a huge part of the experience is the winner being able to relax and be pampered prior to prom, according to the release. After making contact with multiple resorts, the organizers managed to book a room at Pavilion and Pools, which was where Ms. Harrigan prepared for her magical evening. After she was dolled up by makeup artist Johanna Johnson and stylist Christie Brooks, Bell of the Ball four-time sponsor Cliff Franklin of Precious Moments Photography, took stunning photos of Ms. Harrigan right before she was whisked away in a limousine provided by another Belle of the Ball legacy sponsor Presidential Limousine Service of the VI.
It is important to note that Cliff Franklin of Precious Moment Photography & Perry Trotman of Presidential Limousines have participated in this project for the past 4 years, according to the release. Without their services and the Belle of Ball new contributors, the event would not be possible.
According to the release, 4Her aims to navigate young women through life by providing the tools necessary for positive progression academically, socially and personally. It is the 4Her belief that if the right traits are nurtured, genuine love of self will follow. The 4Her Foundation also provides as many outlets possible to assist young women in growing into strong, smart and savvy leaders, teachers, educators and entrepreneurs, according to the release. From scholarships to community service, fostering healthy relationships and serving as a gateway out of bad ones, 4 Her also serves as a liaison to services for domestic and/or relationship abuse and suicide prevention. If you are interested in assisting in any future projects, email founder Aniska Tonge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virgin Islands Pageantry’s mission is to help young persons build self-esteem and self-respect, develop leadership skills, inspire positivity, and to recognize the value of self-love, community service and education, the release added. While pageantry is a way of achieving the organization’s mission, VI Pageantry is not limited to solely pageantry and seeks to leave a mark on the community through several other initiatives such as Project We Care VI and Operation Uplift.
Visit their official FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/VirginIslandsPageantry to keep up with projects and royal ambassadors. If you are interested in assisting with any projects you can email Taiesa Lashley at email@example.com.