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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2004
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-NEWS

Kean University Sophomore Wins Miss Citronnelle Pageant

UNION, N.J. – Kean University sophomore Guerline Joseph was crowned Miss Citronnelle 2004 at a ceremony held at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, N.J. on July 3. Among prizes valued at a total of $20,000, the 18-year-old Irvington, N.J. resident won a car and a four-day cruise to the Bahamas. She will also travel to France to participate in the Miss Haiti International competition in October 2005. The Miss Citronnelle contest was founded in 1997 for young women between the ages of 18 and 27 of Haitian descent to celebrate their rich culture, provide personal and professional opportunities, and encourage them to participate in community service.

“This year is the bicentennial of Haiti’s independence, and I decided to enter the competition because I felt I had a lot to share with my people at this very important time,” said Joseph, who emigrated from her homeland to the United States at the age of 10. This year, nine young women participated in the contest and were supported every step of the way, spending three months prior to the pageant taking part in workshops on etiquette, speech and poise. To earn the top spot, each person had to take part in talent, swimwear and eveningwear competitions, as well as answer surprise questions on political and ethical topics. Joseph said that she and another participant were tied for first place after all of the events and what was supposed to be a final question. So, they both had to respond to a second query. “The judge asked us if lying was ever justifiable,” recalled Joseph. “The first thing that came to mind was a Creole proverb, which translates as, ‘Little lie, medium lie, big lie – all lie, all lies,” so that’s what I said.” That answer – both morally and culturally relevant – broke the tie.

“The entire experience was wonderful, and taking first place was a dream come true. With the help of my Heavenly Father, I want to use this opportunity to be a leader and set examples for other young people.” In her duties as Miss Citronnelle, Joseph will do just that, traveling to various civic and political events throughout the year to represent women of Haitian descent.