United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands


Full Ahead at Cayman Prep!

Graduations, other impressive accomplishments, and new Director at Cayman Prep

Forty-eight I/GCSE students graduated on 25th June from the Year 11 Graduating Class of 2013, 19 with Honours and another six graduated with Merit. Thirteen students shared the Subject Prizes, with Utkarsha Basu taking a whopping seven of these! Louis Solomon also took three subject prizes, while Keelan Green and Allie Williams were each awarded two subject prizes.   The other nine Subject Prize winners, each with one, were, Fergus Allen, Thomas Bishop, Christina Bodden, Stryker  Ebanks, Charlotte Hinds, Jessica Lloyd, Francella Martin, Andrew Schirn, and Sam Whitney.
Utkarsha Basu also received the Ernst & Young Award for Top Academic Achiever and Outstanding Student in Year 11. Stryker Ebanks received The Spirit of the School Award and the Siginificant Contribution to the Cultural Life of the School Award, and he and Rachael Hodkin shared the Community Service Award, for which they were praised roundly for their tremendous efforts in raising funds and finding other ways to help people in the wider community. Allie Williams received the United Church’s Ethics Ward and Lauren Hill and Nico Tummings were the Female and Male Sports Persons of the Year.
However, in her comments to the students, High School Principal Mrs. Sheila Purdom made it clear that all 48 were winners as she spoke of their winning attributes, their contribution to the caring, hardworking ethos of the School, and the delight they all were to teach.

The following night, the Year 13 A level students were the stars of the evening, as they said goodbye to the School and got ready to head off to university. The Special Awards were presented to: Chynna Martinez (the Church’s Outstanding Citizen Award), Justino Rodrigues (Outstanding All-Round Academic Achievement Prize) and Colby Seymour (Outstanding Athlete of the Year). Justino Rodrigues also took four of the Faculty Awards, in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, while Abby Hydes was also a ‘multiple’ winner, with the Awards for English Literature and Business Studies.  The students have applied to a wide range of major universities in Scotland and England, subject to getting the required UCAS points from their expected level of passes in their A Levels (along with their existing AS level passes), as well as in the US and elsewhere. The courses they have entered for continue the trend toward increased diversity seen in recent years: Biomedical Engineering, Nursing, Psychology, Software Engineering, Sports Management, Acting and Drama, Journalism, Animal Welfare, Law, Finance, Architecture, Tourism & Hospitality Management etc., etc.     

The United Church certainly wishes to join in very sincere congratulations and best wishes to all of the hardworking students completing Years 11 and 13 and also to thank and congratulate their highly dedicated teachers and leaders for the tremendous work they put in each year in improving and enhancing the lives of all our students.  (More about this is given below.)

This year, for both graduations the keynote speakers were past graduates of the School, Ms. Melanie McTaggart, a Staff Accountant at Ernst & Young for Year 11, and Ms. Jodie McTaggart, an Accountant with KPMG, for the A level graduates. This was definitely another reason for celebration!

And the great news out of the School isn’t just in regard to the graduating classes. Throughout the school-year just ended the School’s students excelled in a wide range of pursuits in academics, sports, performing arts, giving back to their communities, etc. In reporting to the Board on just some of the activities from the last term of the school-year, the Principals highlighted an impressive array of accomplishments, including:
High School Section
• The first participation by the School in the Model UN Conference for middle-school children, joining 1,500 students from various countries in the General Assembly at the United Nations Building in New York and then in the nearby Grand Hyatt Hotel. Mrs. Purdom reported that while their expectations were modest, as it was their first conference, all our students made significant contributions to the Resolutions produced by the Committees and many ended up giving the speeches to the Committees. Amongst the notable achievements, Aiden Teeling, Year 9, and Eddie Weber, Year 8, received the award for Best Position Paper, General Assembly!  As a result of the collective performance of our students, the School has now received an invitation from the prestigious Yale University for a High School team (Years 10-13) to the Yale Model United Nations Conference next January.
• A team of three Year 11 students won the Fred Speirs Inter-school Debating Competition.
• And another team made up of the same three students as the Debating Team(!) plus one other student also won the KPMG Brain Bowl Challenge amongst 8 local schools, fielding questions in Mathematics, English, Science, and Caribbean History.
• The Junior and Senior Steel Pan Bands took all the awards in that category in the National Children’s Festival of the Arts this year, with Gold for both as well as being declared overall winners. Some of the students also won individual prizes.
• Four of our students were amongst the thirteen finalists for the Young Musician of the Year; and Hannah Fowler, Year 8 (and the youngest of the 13 competitors), was selected as The Young Musician of the Year 2013
• 68 Years 7 and 8 students took part, amongst 240,000 students from the UK and around the world, in the UK Junior Maths Challenge, gaining 3 gold, 7 silver and 10 bronze awards!
• The students also did well in internal and island-wide art and drama exhibitions.
• The Students also took part in the “I Am Worth The Wait” teen-pregnancy prevention campaign put on by the Family Resource Centre.
• And the High School students were commended for the many activities and the funds raised in support of a wide range of charitable needs, including through the new Student Leaders’ initiative, “Go MAD” (“Go Make a Difference”).

Primary School Section
• Meanwhile, the Primary School reports that that the vast majority of its students in Year 3 – 6 continued to perform at higher than the international average in the PIM (Progress in Mathematics), PIE (Progress in English), and CAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) assessments. In Year 6, no student failed to reach the expected Level 4 average, while the following percentage of the students achieved the top Level 5, or “beyond expectation”, in the respective areas:
o English 46%
o Mathematics 70%
o Science 77%
• The Boys Soccer Team won the Inter-Primary School Championship Trophy and School teams were also victorious in Swimming and Sailing Competitions. Individual students won trophies and medals in athletics, fencing, horse-riding, karate and other sporting activities.
• In the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, students of the School won more Gold and Silver Awards in Music than any other school and were recognised for impressive contributions in Art.
• Three Year 6 students were finalists in the “Young Filmmakers of the Year” competition and one, Harriett Richardson, was crowned the winner in the Junior category, for which prizes included a trip to New York! And another of the three, Lia Piper, was First Runner-up.    Another Year 6 student, Oliver Burnstein, was awarded $3,000 and a laptop computer for winning a National Science Fair competition!    And yet another, Leena Hussein, was a prize winner in the Rotary Sunrise Club sponsored story writing competition.
• The older students are not outdoing them in the “love your neighbour” imperative either!! (We are particularly proud of this, in an era when other international studies are showing things like a rapid rise in the number of students who say making money is the most important thing their school can help them do!) The Primary children now have an Animal Kindness Club which looks after animals that have fallen on difficult times, including visits to the Humane Society every week to help look after dogs and cats, and, further afield, they have committed to “Save the Rhinos” and stop the cruel slaughter of sharks for the making of shark-fin soup! The Primary Students have also recently helped the Red Cross, the Cancer Society, the NCVO, the Special Needs Foundation and the National Cultural Foundation. And in their annual Harvest Festival, they provide hundreds of boxes of goods which they share with neighbours in need through the Department of Children and Family Services.  And, recognising the breadth of Jesus’ definition of the “neighbour” whom we must love, internationally they have helped fund some furniture for a school in Kenya and purchased books for a school in Guatemala.

The Board of Governors has also now approved the construction of a two-storey building on the Walkers Road site to house an enclosed, air-conditioned dining area (long overdue!) on the ground floor, and classrooms, including another science room, on the top floor. Funding will be by way of loan borrowed by the Church (but to be repaid by the School), part of the existing credit facility for the large classroom block completed in 2010, and equity provided by the School (with, we hope, some of that coming from fund-raising). The PTA continues to spearhead beautification and shade initiatives and improvements to the Hall at the Primary site.

New Director: The Search Committee appointed by the Church Council (which also included members of the School Board, including a PTA representative) has appointed Ms. Debra McLaughlin to be the new Director of the School, with effect from the 1st August.
Ms. McLaughlin, who is a Member of the United Church, is no stranger to Cayman Prep, as she served as a Governor of the School from 1997-2006. She qualified as a teacher in Canada and for School Headship in the UK and is a highly respected and effective educator, with over twenty-five years experience as a teacher, faculty head, head of sixth form, deputy principal and principal, and in leadership posts in the Cayman Islands Education Department.  Ms. McLaughlin is committed to the values highlighted in our School’s Mission and is passionate about young people and the tremendous potential of each. In addition to her career as a professional educator, she has also served for many years with the Girls Brigade, where she is currently National Chairperson, as well as a Sunday School teacher and in other roles guiding and advising young people. 
The Search Committee is therefore confident that Ms. McLaughlin will work well with the other key leaders of our School and all its dedicated staff to continue to build on the proven strengths of Cayman Prep and High School, to ensure it continues to focus strategically on providing excellent, internationally valued education, while helping our students develop strong Christian values and practices.   The Committee has therefore extended a warm welcome to Ms. McLaughlin, with humble thanks for God’s continued blessings on our School, in His unfathomable grace.

Posted by: Administrator Monday Jul 08, 2013 13:25
Categories: Cayman Prep, Encouragement, National Awards, students, Youth | Tags: children, exam results, helping others, strengthening, students

United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands