Walking the stage in a stunning Wob Dwiyet dress made Nicole Balthazar feel like royalty for a few hours last Saturday night.
The good feeling was amplified when she was crowned at the fourth annual pageant which was part of the Commonwealth of Dominica Ontario Association celebration to mark the organization’s 44th birthday and Dominica’s 36th independence anniversary.
The island nation secured its independence from Britain on November 3, 1978.
“The outfit was so bright and gorgeous,” said Balthazar, who won the Best Wob and Public Speaking individual awards. “I felt like a princess on stage.”
The Wob Dwiyet is Dominica’s national and traditional wear.
A graduate of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute, Balthazar is a second-year University of Toronto criminology student who aspires to be a prosecutor.
“I love to debate and a teacher in high school suggested that I would do well as a lawyer,” she said.
Born in Canada to Dominican immigrant parents, Balthazar said the Wob Dwiyet experience was extremely enlightening.
“I learned a lot about the culture and heritage and I formed lasting friendships with the other contestants,” the 18-year-old said.
University of Windsor first-year student, Serina Green and Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts Grade 12 student, Alexandra Harve, who captured the Best Talent Award, were the first and second runners-up, respectively.
The other contestants were Ryerson University applied mathematics and finance third-year student, Carlene Jacob and St. Augustine Secondary School student, Unysiah Martin.
Jacob and Balthazar, who graduated from high school with the highest grade point average, were also the recipients of $1,000 scholarships.
Middlefield Collegiate Institute graduate, Dayna Adams, who is enrolled in the University of Guelph-Humber family & community social service program; York University criminology student, Jesse Hector and Archbishop Dennis O’Connor Catholic High School graduate, Jade Alexander, who is pursuing chemical engineering studies at the University of Waterloo, were also awarded scholarships.
Miss Dominica 2013 Leslassa Armour-Shillingford, who is enrolled at the University of Waterloo, was the keynote speaker at the event.
“We must acknowledge the critical role that Dominica has played in shaping and defining us,” said Armour-Shillingford, who graduated in 2012 from New Brunswick’s Rothesay Netherwood School’s international baccalaureate program. “In doing so, recognize the responsibility this gives us to impact the outcome of Dominica’s future. Independence requires the maturity to recognize the need for interdependence.”
A youth ambassador and promotions executive in Dominica prior to her arrival on the University of Waterloo campus last September, Armour-Shillingford joined former beauty queen and recording artist, Wendy Robin, as Dominican of Distinction Award winners.