NEW YORK – Sharissa Ryan, Miss Montserrat 2014/15 is slated to speak and perform at an upcoming Caribbean Week event in New York City in early June.
On Wednesday June 3rd, Sharissa will speak and perform at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Student Colloquium event themed “ Students Taking Centre Stage: A forum for Rising Stars in Caribbean Tourism”. She will address a body of student teams from the College of the Bahamas, Monroe College in New York, Jamaica’s University of Technology and the Turks and Caios Islands Community College as they challenge each other on sustainable tourism issues. The students will also hear from featured speaker, Denis Walcott the former New York City education chancellor who served from 2011 to 2013.
Born in Montserrat, Sharissa moved to Bedford Hills, NY at the tender age of four with her family after the Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted on the island in 1995. This year marks 20 years since this devastation to the southern half of the island. During that time, her parents encouraged her to start tennis lessons and shortly after she decided to learn how to play the violin. Some of her proud accomplishments include the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title in 2012, Inter-collegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar athlete in 2014, and MAAC player of the week 4 times throughout her college career. In 2006, at 12 years old, she decided to share her skills with her home country by leading a volunteer tennis clinic for the children on the island to learn the game.
Since winning the title and crown, she has done community service in her country, hosting a weekend of tennis for youth and establishing a reading program working with the Montserrat Public Library. Since her return to New York in May, she has made appearances at events such as the Montserrat Progressive Society’s Mother’s Day event and the Aids Walk NYC that have helped expose, and spark conversations about her island.
When asked about the upcoming event she said; “I am excited to share my experiences among my peers, encouraging them to also re-connect with their own Caribbean heritage”. The journey is always the best part of any adventure, and this is just the beginning. Later this summer Sharissa goes on to compete in three pageants: Jaycees Queen Show in Antigua, Caribbean Culture Queen in Nevis and The Commonwealth Caribbean in St. Lucia.