Educators were awarded for excellence in teaching at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Friday evening.
At the Chamber of Commerce second annual Golden Apple Awards, educators joined colleagues, family and friends to see who would take home one of the seven Golden Apple Awards.
Twenty-one people were being honoured out of 244 educators nominated but only two primary, two middle, two high and one school principal would be winners.
A first-time Lifetime Achievement award in education was also presented to a visionary leader whose life has been dedicated to the development of education in the Cayman Islands. This was awarded to Mrs. Islay Conolly.
Mrs. Conolly began her teaching career as headmistress at Creek school in Cayman Brac in 1947. She then became head of East End school in Grand Cayman before being appointed chief education officer in 1970, a position she held until retirement in 1982. For her accomplishments she received an MBE in 1975.
She is responsible for groundbreaking developments in Cayman’s education, from a school for the deaf to the introduction of the community college.
Other educators awarded the Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence were Gloria Pollard-Bell, principal of Prospect Primary School; Nasaria Suckoo-Chollett of John Gray High for excellent high school teacher in a public school; Glenn Whewell of St. Ignatius Catholic School for high school teacher in a private school; Joy Bromfield of Pace High for excellent middle school teacher in a public school; Jeremy Rice of St. Ignatius Catholic School for excellent middle school teacher in a private school; Elroy Bryan of Lighthouse School for excellent primary school teacher in a public school ;and Michele Lee Pack of St. Ignatius Catholic for excellent primary school teacher in a private school.
A colleague had this to say about Principal Pollard-Bell. ‘Gloria is jovial, energetic, pleasant, sociable, hardworking and an excellent team player.’
‘Ms Suckoo-Cholette, ‘is an amazing drama teacher,’ said one student attending John Gray High School.
‘Mr. Whewell teaches the subject with enthusiasm and realism and makes what could be a boring topic one that our son really looks forward to,’ said a parent.
Ms Bromfield ‘is a role model and mother figure to many, if not all of her students. Many of them seek out her wise Christian counsel,’ said a parent.
‘I can’t say enough good about the man Jeremy Rice who I am convinced changed the course of history for my child,’ said a parent.
‘Mr. Elroy is a tireless and dedicated PE teacher for students with special needs, who is able to adapt all his classes to the unique needs of every student,’ said a colleague.
A colleague of Ms Lee Pack said, ‘Michele is extremely professional and dedicated and often comes in on the weekend to ensure her planning is thorough.’
The other nominees were:
Principal Vickie Frederick of Red Bay Primary and Principal Joseph Wallace of John A. Cumber Primary School.
High school teachers Kirkpatrick Clarke and Margaret Jackson from John Gray High; Lisa De Mercado of St Ignatius; and Claude Bailey from Grace Christian Academy.
Middle school teachers: Mellony Bryan of Pace; Marlene Ricketts, New Horizons; Rebecca Profitt, Wesleyan Christian Academy; and Patrice Hanson Grace Christian Academy.
Primary school teachers Winsome Parker, Red Bay; Dewayne Bennett, John A. Cumber; Audrey Leahong, Grace Christian Academy: and Catherine Eugene Cayman Academy.
Minister for Education Alden McLaughlin along with Chamber President James Tibbetts presented each honouree with an exquisite crystal apple award affixed to a handmade and locally grown mahogany wooden base designed and crated by Murray’s Woodwork Shop.
Also over $21,000 in cash and prizes along with a crystal Golden Apple Award, designed by Sandstorm Creations, went to the night’s winners.
‘Many educators now consider this event to be one of the highlights of the school year. Parents and students submitted more than 1,000 nominations…’ said Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Wil Pineau during the live broadcast.
Helping to make the event possible were Chamber education partners Cayman Free Press, CLICO Cayman, Chevrolet, Dart Cayman Islands, Walkers and Maple and Calder.