For us, the students of St Martin's, it was a normal day, only we had our own clothes on and were awaiting a Christmas themed lunch. We still had Maths in the morning and homework to hand in. So being told we had to go to the Main Hall instead of our Period Three lesson, was most unusual. Suddenly, the girls in Year Eleven were on high alert, studying the people dressed smartly on stage (we had later learned that they were Julia Morley, Baroness Floella Benjamin and her husband). We became even more confused as we watched the Miss World 2019 final, in which Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh, was being crowned Miss World.
We were excited, telling one another how proud we were that Miss Jamaica had won. Even I, only a quarter Jamaican, was feeling immensely patriotic of a woman representing a country I had never been to. That was when I heard the person in front of me mutter to the person next to her “Imagine if Miss World appeared on our stage right now, I would be really shocked, wouldn’t you?”
Then Miss World 2019, was walking right past us. We blinked, and the stunning lady ahead of us on the screen, was right in front of us, waving and smiling to all of us. Rest assured, I asked my friend to pinch me after this was all over, fortunately I felt the bruise left behind.
Miss World left me dumbfounded, perhaps it was her inspiring words that left me in tears, or maybe it was the warm humility she displayed as she embraced each of the girls she met as though they were priceless chinaware. We recorded her walking up to the stage, we recorded her speaking, we even recorded her leaving the hall, we had to prove to ourselves, later on, that this was not a dream (even if some of us had a lingering bruise on our forearm).
After she had left, the hall was buzzing with ecstatic students and teachers; some students sent messages to their mothers who truly believed they were telling lies, others compared videos and pictures with the people around them. The prefects, however, were ushered into Mrs Stanislaus’ office, a place some of us had never entered before, where we met Toni-Ann Singh, Miss World 2019, in person.
We took pictures with her, and hugged her and laughed as our Jamaican and proud teachers basked in her glory. I’ll admit- I cried a little after she had told all of the prefects that she loved us. Truthfully, some of us had never felt so inspired, so loved and cared for ever before Miss World made it clear to us, that although the future is scary, we must look forward to it, because we write it.
As the current generation of women, we will give birth to the future Oprah Winfrey and Martin Luther King, we will strive to be better than our idols, and must therefore teach the next generation how to strive to be better than us; honestly I would be honoured to tell the next generation and my own, how my life changed, the days I met Toni-Ann Singh, Miss World 2019.
Mya - Year 11 Prefect