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Rodriguez, Smith are schools soca monarchs

By Kimoy Leon Sing

Jeromy Rodriguez and Ferdinand Smith won the National Schools Soca Monarch Competition held at Queen's Park Savannah yesterday.

Rodriguez from St Mary's Government Primary topped the primary school category while Smith from Swaha Hindu College won the secondary school category.

Rodriguez, who came to the stage in position ten, delighted the judges with his song "Colour Me Carnival". The youngest during his presentation spelt out what soca means to him - S - Simply, O - Our, C - Culture, A - Appreciate It.

Smith, who is no stranger to the stage having competed at the National Schools Soca Monarch Competition before; paid tribute to the iconic Austin "SuperBlue" Lyons after having returned to the soca arena with his song titled "Back In The Dance".

Dressed in SuperBlue's signature colour, blue, Smith thrilled the audience and the judges with his "SuperBlue-like" moves and commanding performance on stage.

Leaping off the stage to get closer to the crowd, Smith's infectious energy spurred on those in the Grand Stand to jump and wave.

Speaking with the Express shortly after the results were revealed, an elated Smith said, "I am just so excited, this song was written by Gregory Ballentyne and I really had fun doing it. The first thing I want to do when I go home is to celebrate."

Echoing similar sentiments, Rodriguez said, "I feel so good; this is my second time competing. When I first got out on stage I was not nervous, I just felt confident and excited. Even then I felt as if I would win today."

The competition which got under way from 11 a.m. started with the primary school category. Aaron Duncan, the 2012 Schools Soca Monarch and a crowd favourite, also had a brilliant performance but had to settle for third place. Second place went to Stefan Camejo from Sacred Heart Boys who sung "50 Anniversary Soca".

In the secondary school category, there was a three-way tie for second place. Shaquille Vincent from San Juan South Secondary; Khiry Flemming from St Kevins College and Timel Rivas from Hillview College all had dynamic performances on stage. The fifth place winner was Anton Cumberbatch with his song titled "Proud to Be A Trini".

Proceedings were opened with an address from Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh.

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