Carnival Queen Priscilla Elkins


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At age 15, Ss. Peter and Paul student Priscilla Elkins was the youngest Carnival queen to date when she was crowned in 1956. With the help of her sponsor, Coca-Cola, Elkins sold more than 25,000 votes to earn the crown, besting 11 other contestants.

Elkins' king was 21-year-old Miguel Fuertes, and during their reign, the couple traveled to San Juan to attend events with their Puerto Rican counterparts.

Question. What were the criteria to become a contestant?

Answer. No restrictions were discussed with me. I was told that my mother had to give me permission to compete. There was no age limit, and contestants had to be locally born and have no children.

Q. Briefly describe your coronation.

A. Memorable, beautiful and enjoyable. I had my extremely handsome King, Miguel (Mike) Fuertes, by my side escorting me. Also, there were 10 beautiful princesses (ladies in waiting) and their handsome princes (consorts) who were part of my entourage. I was accompanied by a flotilla of boats and yachts and an aerial group of planes, headed by my father, who was a pilot. I landed at the Coast Guard pier by boat. I was only 15 years old and was very proud. Everything was quite an experience. To this day I am very proud of holding the title of 1956 V.I. Carnival Queen. I will always love my native island St. Thomas, where I was born, the most beautiful island in the Caribbean.

Q. How were you motivated and inspired to participate in the competition?

A. I enjoyed Carnival, and I wanted to compete and represent my island and my people.

Q. What roles did you perform as queen?

A. I represented my island in the St. Croix Festival. I represented my island in the Coronation of the Carnival Queen of Ponce De Leon and the Carnival Parade in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and I participated in the press conference at the Governor's Palace in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A dinner dance was held in my honor, and Dona Felicia Rincon de Gauthier, then Mayoress of the city of San Juan, presented me with a key to the city of San Juan. I also participated in the ball held at Normandie Hotel in the golden ballroom in San Juan, where music was provided by the famous orchestra, the "Grand Combo." I also spent the day at Mayoress Dona Felicia's beach home, where there was a luncheon, and I was featured on television by Puerto Rico News. Myself and all the ladies in waiting-princesses were chaperoned at all the activities in representation of V.I. Carnival 1956.

Q. How were you rewarded as queen?

A. I received a medal - the back was engraved "Queen 1956" - and a GE refrigerator donated by Lockhart Department Store.

Q. What life lessons have you learned from competing?

A. Have perseverance to go after your dreams. Don't give up until you fulfill them.

Q. What experiences did you cherish when you were queen?

A. The recognition, appreciation and good wishes given to me throughout various islands, Puerto Rico and the United States.

Q. What advice would you give to a young lady wanting to enter a competition?

A. Go for it, and do your best.

Q. What in V.I. culture do you appreciate most or take great pride in?

A. The friendship of the people.

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