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Vote for St. Thomas’s Harika Jhanwar in the National ‘Doodle for Google’ Competition

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Doodle for Google competitor Harika Jhanwar.

The national “Doodle for Google” competition is in full swing, and third-grader Harika Jhanwar from St. Thomas is in the running and needs your vote.

Eight-year-old Harika, a student at All Saints Cathedral School, has been submitting her artistic creations as potential Google Doodles for three years. “She is an art lover, and any competition related to art she likes to participate,” said her mother, Nidhi Jhanwar. This year, her dedication has paid off as her entry was selected from thousands, making her one of 55 state and territorial winners.

Harika’s artwork, titled “Ocean in Motion,” reflects her desire for a clean ocean where marine animals can thrive. Her mother explains, “keeping the environment clean starts from the ocean so it’s good for humans too.” Harika dreams of becoming a marine biologist and her artwork illustrates her passion for ocean conservation.

The competition will determine a national winner on June 4 through public voting. The national winner will receive a $55,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for their school or a chosen nonprofit, a personal and school trophy, Google hardware, and other Google-themed items. The winning Doodle will be featured on Google’s homepage for a day.

Additionally, five runners-up will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, Google hardware, and promotional items. All national finalists’ artwork will be displayed in the Doodle for Google gallery, with special awards for pieces that align with Google’s values.

Voting for the Doodle for Google competition is currently open and will close on Tuesday, June 4. To support Harika, voters can visit the competition website and look for her entry from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Arts

St. Thomas’ Own Nicole Sealey Earns Prestigious Nomination for the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize

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The 2024 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature has announced its distinguished shortlist, celebrating the exemplary works of three Caribbean authors across diverse genres. Among the honorees, Nicole Sealey, hailing from St. Thomas, has been recognized as the Poetry category winner for her compelling work, The Ferguson Report: An Erasure. Sealey’s innovative approach transforms the 2015 report on Michael Brown’s tragic death in Ferguson, Missouri, into a profound reflection on contemporary societal challenges and the act of witnessing history.

Nicole Sealey, who grew up in Apopka, Florida, has an impressive educational background with a Master of Liberal Arts in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New York University. Over six years, Sealey meticulously edited the Ferguson report, reconfiguring its narrative to offer new perspectives and insights.

In her conversation with Erik Gleibermann for Poets & Writers, Sealey shared the fulfillment she found in reinterpreting the document, suggesting that by erasing parts of the text, she was symbolically addressing and ameliorating the original incident’s impact. This method reflects a deep engagement with the material and a creative pursuit of justice through art.

The Ferguson Report: An Erasure has not only earned the accolade of being named a Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker but also adds to Sealey’s growing list of achievements. Her previous works, Ordinary Beast and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, have also received significant acclaim, earning her awards from prestigious institutions such as Princeton University, the American Academy in Rome, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Joining Sealey on the shortlist are Kevin Jared Hosein from Trinidad & Tobago, recognized in the fiction category for Hungry Ghosts, and Safiya Sinclair from Jamaica, awarded in non-fiction for How to Say Babylon. The grand prize winner of the 2024 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature will be unveiled on April 27, an announcement eagerly awaited by the literary community and readers worldwide.

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A Spectacular Showcase: USVI Dance Academy Shines at ADE Master Classes

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The U.S. Virgin Islands’ FAPA USVI Dance Academy emerged as a standout participant at the Artistic Dance Exchange’s (ADE) master classes in Virginia this March, earning an invitation to the ADE national competition set for Orlando, Florida, from July 6 to July 12.

At ADE’s Virginia sessions, the young dancers from the academy achieved numerous awards, including the top overall solo for mini beginners to intermediate, and the best in show for contemporary choreography in the same category. Their outstanding performances also earned them national scholarships, a nod to their exceptional talent and dedication.

Azalea Pearsall led the academy’s successes with the first-place award in the top overall solo for mini beginners to intermediate category, showcasing her exceptional talent. The academy’s innovative approach to dance was further highlighted by Lea Scott’s contemporary piece “#110 Lose Control,” which took the best in show for contemporary choreography for mini beginners to intermediate, solidifying FAPA’s reputation for creative excellence.

Additional accolades were abundant. Both Azalea Pearsall and Demiah Philip received National Scholarships, marking them as dancers of outstanding potential. High Gold Awards were secured by Azalea Pearsall, Aysia Frett, and Teagan Campbell, among other notable achievements, demonstrating the team’s deep talent and dedication.

The upcoming national competition in Orlando isn’t just a chance for teams to vie for cash and prizes. For the first time in 2024, ADE will host a national dance casting call, offering dancers the unique opportunity to be scouted by casting directors from film, theater, television, commercials, cruise lines, and new media. This opens doors to auditions for roles in upcoming projects across various entertainment industries.

Additionally, dancers can audition for the ADE’s International Exchange Program, offering a select few the chance to participate in this year’s production of Ceta con la Danza in Benicàssim, Spain.

To support the team’s journey to the national stage, FAPA Director Lea Scott announced a series of fundraising events planned for April, May, and June. She calls on the community to support these talented young dancers as they prepare to make their mark on the national competition scene.

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“Bob Marley: One Love” Shines at Box Office with Stellar Opening

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The cinematic landscape was awash with the rhythms of reggae this weekend as “Bob Marley: One Love,” a biopic celebrating the legendary Bob Marley, soared to the top of the box office charts. The film eclipsed its competition, including the much-anticipated Marvel entry “Madame Web,” which has faced a barrage of critical backlash.

Achieving a remarkable $12 million haul on Valentine’s Day, “Bob Marley: One Love” set a new benchmark for midweek releases on this romantic holiday, a feat not seen since “The Vow” captivated audiences in 2012. With projections estimating a six-day total of $30 million, the biopic significantly outshines “Madame Web,” which is poised to garner around $20 million.

“Bob Marley: One Love” has struck a chord with viewers, offering an intimate look into Marley’s struggles and triumphs alongside his revolutionary music that continues to influence countless individuals. While some critics have pointed out the film’s unevenness, the performances within have garnered acclaim, presenting a pivotal exploration of Marley’s contributions to music for a new generation. In contrast, “Madame Web” has stumbled, hampered by unfavorable critiques that spotlight its subpar dialogue and pacing, alongside tepid audience engagement reflected in its disappointing ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

With a domestic gross surpassing $25 million, “Bob Marley: One Love” has made a significant financial splash, complemented by a burgeoning international reception. This victory over “Madame Web” underscores a trend where biographical films and narratives rooted in real-life experiences capture the hearts of viewers, likely attributed to their authentic connections and the profound emotions they evoke.

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