Gifted students visit LA

A group of Grand Cayman’s ‘gifted and talented’ students from the George Hicks campus had an opportunity to see MLAs in action during a recent visit to the Legislative Assembly.

The Cayman Islands Department of Education Services’ new Gifted and Talented Programme is designed to develop abilities of outstanding students. The outing was the first in a series designed to widen their experiences, said a GIS press release.

Students in this pilot programme were chosen based on their outstanding performance in literacy and numeracy tests. Recommendations from teachers, counsellors and school leaders were also solicited and taken into consideration when compiling the pilot group.

On the visit of these 17 of Cayman’s brightest and best, the LA’s Order Paper included the presentation of the Cayman Islands Government’s Mid-Term Report as well as Members’ questions and the piloting of Bills before the House.

Before the commencement of the day’s business, student Manuel Gonzales, who had previously visited the LA while in primary school, said he would encourage legislators to ‘Work on areas, such as health services, which benefit all the people of the Cayman Islands.’

The group of 17 students was chaperoned by first Gifted and Talented Programme Coordinator Jasmine Manoosingh; Resource Teacher Julie Rankin; and Assistant Teacher David Conolly II.

Mrs Manoosingh, who has 25 years’ experience teaching in primary, middle and high schools, said: ‘This accelerated learning initiative will include other projects and challenging activities during class times, after school as well as on weekends. These are in addition to the usual schedule of classes.’

Student David Feare said of the LA visit: ‘It will be a good experience to see how the MLAs relate to each other in dealing with the matters which affect the Cayman Islands. I’d especially like to learn how they spend government’s money to help the people.’

Student Andrea Watler added: ‘I hope to hear them explain how the new education system will work. While the new schools may be better for learning, some friends could become separated.’

The other students on this field trip were Ashley Ebanks, Mikaiyah Minzett, Danielle Richardson, Noel Chisolm, Kimberley David, Alexandra Franklin, Jeremy Morain, Erica Burke, Dushun Wilson, Julianna Wood, Danielle Borden, Timothy Greene, Rhendon Miller and Amanda Dixon.

The GATE pilot project is being supervised by the DoES’ Head of Student Services Brent Holt, and its implementation is led by George Hicks’ acting campus director Desmond McConvey.

The GATE programme is a developing undertaking, and other students will be assessed and placed according to their performance. Students who have outstanding personal talents in areas such as the visual and performing arts are also catered for in this innovative scheme.

A parallel programme for high achievers is being developed for students of Cayman Brac High School.