Sekel McIntosh wins 3rd junior soca crown in a row

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Sekel Mc Intosh of Queen’s Royal College celebrates with his friends after winning the secondary schools category in the Ministry of Education Junior Soca Competition at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain, on Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Queen’s Royal College student Sekel McIntosh completed a hat-trick as the Junior Soca Monarch as he placed first for a third time in a row the secondary school division. Thursday’s competition was hosted by the Ministry of Education at Queen’s Hall. Four children competed for the primary school prizes and ten for secondary schools.

QRC students celebrated McIntosh’s win, coming on stage as he did an encore performance of his song Fly, after results were announced. On their school bus they chanted, “Who’s the best? QRC! Move over everybody and let QRC pass!”

McIntosh said, “It was fun competing for the third time and I won it for the third time. The vibes and everyone in the crowd was so supportive. It was really great energy. I give thanks to my God and my father – he has been there all the way. He was the one that made me win.”

On his school’s win, Gervais Frederick said, “By far, I find Sekel was the best performer, that’s why he won. Three time defending champion and he brought it home for QRC. Let’s go! Magnum est QRC!”

Jaleesa Lazarus from St Charles High School placed second. She had maxi-loads of supporters all dressed in their school’s brown uniform.

“The experience was very great. I am very grateful. I am happy.”

It was her first time in the Junior Soca Monarch, but she was once selected to be on stage with Nailah Blackman, having got the most likes in a social media contest.

Elizabeth Paponette, mother of Sharla Gran, who came third, said, “It was a great show. The primary only had four contestants but the secondary was good. It was a high standard. For the short space they had to prepare, they did well. Remember they cancelled the big people and the franchise holder, International Soca Monarch normally host.”

Paponette said her daughter as well as other winners were still owed their prize money for the 2019 competition.

“We’re in a group called Pagosa – parents and guardians of soca artistes – to try and get our children’s money. But they ain’t get paid as yet for 2019 and she placed second then.”

Jalessa Lazarus os St Charles High School shows off her trophy after placing second the secondary schools category of the Ministry of Education Junior Soca Competition at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain, on Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Arennel Grant, music teacher at St James Secondary said , “The competition was the most organised I ever experienced it to be. I liked how they kept encouraging the young ones to support the other performers, not only their school’s.”

Grant’s student Jairzinho Springer placed fourth.

A bit disappointed, Springer said, “I find my performance was good. This is my first time ever singing in the competition so I was glad to make a statement and give my energy to the song I was singing.”

On the advice of his teacher, he wrote a song and gave it his best. He practised a lot with dancers, back-up singers and by himself. Springer hoped to compete again in 2024.

“I don’t know how it could’ve been better, but I guess the judges find it could’ve been better. I’d try to get better at hyping the crowd, but I kinda shy too. My heart was beating real fast when I hit d stage, but I did it. I glad for all the support from my teachers, my school, my parents.”

Fifth was Zaryah Dickson, form four student at Holy Faith Convent, Couva.

Dickson said, “It was fun. I was nervous, but it was fun. I didn’t expect it to be that much fun. The vibes were really cool. Next year for sure.”

Dickson, like many other contestants wrote her own song. “It’s what I do. It was easy, smooth. I also helped produce.”

Sean Paul, currently studying information technology at NESC in Point Lisas placed tenth.

“It was good. First time doing it and first time writing a soca song. I wrote it in two days. My biggest challenge was coming out to the crowd, but after I see the reaction to the song I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. I got this.’”

Paul said he would never give up and never stop writing songs and practising.

Celine Charles from Valencia RC placed first in the primary division, in her first appearance at the competition. The standard three pupil plans to defend her title next year.

Celine said, “I was very excited and I believed in myself and I would have win first place. First, I was a little nervous, but when I start to see everybody waving and stuff, I was very excited.”

Celine’s mother, Paulette and brother, Anthony are planning a river lime and cook for this weekend to celebrate Celine’s victory.

Paulette said, “I’m over the moon. It was very hard work. I’m her designer, I’m her mom and to have her come to this, it cause us a lot of sacrifices and I’m so proud that at 11-years-old, she did it.”


Primary Schools

1 Celine Charles – Valencia RC

2 Xaiden Darius – Pt Fortin RC

3 Zachary Ransome – Montrose Govt

4 Kymani Kalloo – St Peter’s RC (Point Cumana)

Secondary Schools

1 Sekel McIntosh – Queen’s Royal College

2 Jaleesa Lazarus – St Charles High School

3 Sharla Gran – Home schooled

4 Jairzinho Springer – St James Secondary

5 Zaryah Dickson – Holy Faith Convent, Couva

6 Lneisha Gibson/ Onika Cuffy – Marabella South

7 Nyron Walker – Sangre Grande Secondary

8 Triston Grant – Marabella South

9 Thierry Audain – El Dorado West

10 Sean Paul – NESC Pt Lisas