The Save Our Youth Foundation has completed its first-ever end-of-year awards programme, recognising students for their contributions to school and community life.
The students, from both primary and secondary schools, received achievement medallions at various year-end graduation and award ceremonies across Grand Cayman, marking their too-often-unnoticed efforts to promote kindness, excellence and hard work.
The SOY Foundation seeks to spotlight deserving, if under-recognised, youth, who, while hard-working, well-behaved and earnest, are not always named on school honour rolls or for top athletic achievements.
Six students received community-service awards, while scores of students from various schools received achievement medallions. The medallion awards programme, supported by the Ministry of Education, this year comprised John Gray High School, Clifton Hunter High School, Triple C School, Truth for Youth, George Town Primary, John A Cumber Primary and East End Primary.
SOY President Iris Stoner explained that the awards offer an important opportunity to recognise those students who may not be the highest performers but whose positive attitude and work ethic should be publicly praised.
“The highest academic achievers get acknowledged every year, and rightly so, but we want to encourage those students who may not be at the top of their class but deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. Through these awards, we hope to motivate these young people to stay on a positive path,” she said.
“We need to support our young people any way we can so they grow into contributing, positive members of society.”
Principal of John Gray High School Lyneth Monteith said the SOY programme had already proved its worth to the school.
“John Gray High School is pleased to partner with the SOY Foundation in recognising students who have given of themselves unselfishly or have improved significantly in their school work,” she said. “It is an aim of the school to celebrate the success of our students and we are grateful for the many organisations who assist us with this. The SOY Foundation is one such organisation.”
Bob Lankford, vice principal of Triple C School, said the programme, even in its initial stages, had already had an impact.
“To get the true picture of the impact that these awards have on kids, one would have to see the pride in the faces of the recipients as they receive their medals and certificates,” he said. “One of our male recipients came to my office several days after receiving his award and informed me that the SOY award inspired him to ‘really focus on school next year’. Triple C School is very grateful to the SOY Foundation for all of its efforts to inspire today’s youth to reach their full potential.”
Marie Martin, principal of George Town Primary School, underlined the value of the foundation’s efforts.
“The Achievement Medallion Award of the SOY Foundation is important in a number of ways, not the least of which is that it serves to motivate and build self-esteem in our youth,” she said.
The awards programme is open to every school in the Cayman Islands, Mrs. Stoner said, adding she hoped to see more institutions embrace SOY’s efforts in the coming year.
She also thanked Minister of Education Rolston Anglin for all his support along with major sponsor the Ministry of Education; Cayman National; Ogier; DHL; Butterfield Bank; Cayman Business Machines; and George Town Crafts.
“Sponsorship of the programme is vital for its success and we thank all of our sponsors for their generous contributions and for recognising the importance of this programme.
Their willingness to support these awards is greatly appreciated,” she said.