Digicel is supporting the one-year scholarship to the Purple Dragon Martial Arts school, creating a place for a local student in the facility’s renowned training programme.
Digicel spokesperson Crystal Gomez said the company was proud to contribute to Cayman’s young people.
“We are one of Cayman’s premier telecommunications leaders, charting a path of technical innovation and customer service and we owe our success to the people of the Cayman Islands,” Gomez said. “The Purple Dragon dojo has blazed a similar path, bringing its resilient, unique and practical values to a focused programme that helps build physical and mental balance.
“We are pleased to join Sensei Floyd Baptiste and his staff in this winning effort and look for great things from both them and their students.”
The telecommunications company joins law firm Conyers Dill and Pearman, CML and Remax by offering a student a fully paid year of instruction in martial arts discipline at Purple Dragon.
The Digicel move provides a deserving, if disadvantaged, young Caymanian an opportunity to reap the rewards of a rigorous training regime by boosting the Purple Dragon scholarship programme, adding significant momentum to the school’s drive to gain financial support for at least 16 young people.
“The Purple Dragon dojo and staff are recognised locally and globally for their integrity,” Sensei Floyd Baptiste said. “The quality of their training programmes has already had an overwhelmingly positive impact on Cayman’s young people.
“We have demonstrated time and again how discipline, motivation and confidence are an inevitable outcome of the instruction. No matter the age or strength of our students, the training has an overwhelmingly positive impact and boosts personal development, particularly in children and teens.”
Digicel will contribute a $1,500 donation to the programme, aimed at primary and secondary students — previously identified by schools, social services and school administrators – who frequently confront mental, behavioural or physical challenges, while others are victims of broken or disadvantaged homes.
Still others, while eager to participate in the dojo’s training programme, simply cannot afford to do so.
The scholarship programme encompasses not only tuition, but a full uniform, safety gear and two annual opportunities for “belt grading”, formal promotion through the ranks of trainees.
In exchange, sponsors will gain a contract from a student, committing to regular attendance and timeliness, maintenance of school grades and behaviour reflecting respect for individuals and property.
They will also receive twice-yearly reports from the Purple Dragon teachers, parents, school and counsellors, tracking the performance of each student.
Additionally, each participating company will gain invitations to such special events as demonstrations and gradings, offering a chance for first-hand observation of sponsored students, creating a comprehensive system of accountability for both pupils and the Purple Dragon dojo itself.
Purple Dragon, founded in Trinidad in 1970 by Professor Don Jacob, has grown from a tiny operation in Port of Spain to a global organisation boasting 44 schools across the Caribbean, the US, Canada, Australia and Ireland, serving more than 50,000 members.
Sensei Geddes Hislop founded Cayman’s dojo in 1989, ultimately giving day-to-day responsibilities to Sensei Floyd in 1996. Today, five Senseis – Senseis Geddes and Floyd, joined by Senseis Karen Baptiste, Cindy Alison and Atonio – operate the new 4,500 square foot dojo on the second floor of the Mirco Centre.