The third round of the “Proud of Them” initiative honors 12 new faces.
Proud of Them is a government-driven program to highlight the talents and achievements of some of Cayman’s young people. This round there were 69 nominees. Each round of Proud of Them selects 12 honorees, bringing the total so far this year to 36.
The most recent honorees are: Diana Tibbetts, 20, Bethany Ebanks, 24, Julian Jervis, 16, Lauren Hew, 14, Mariah Tibbetts 20, Hakeem Bush, 22, Leshontae Missick 15, Lloyd Baker, 21, Lacee Barnes 14, Adrian Stewart, 18, Loshana Francis, 16 and Tafari Ebanks, 19.
Adrian Stewart, a UCCI student recognized for academics, said he felt honored to receive the award because much of the time he did not think anyone was watching while he was working so hard. “I was not trying to be recognized but someone was seeing all my efforts,” he said.
Julian Jervis, who attends St. Ignatius High School and Lacee Barnes who attends Clifton Hunter were both nominated for their sporting achievements. They said they were excited to see their pictures featured on billboards around the island.
Mariah Tibbetts, who attends Georgia State University, said it was uplifting and inspiring to be honored for her contributions to society. She added that it not only motivated her to do better this semester, but also for the rest of her career and to be a role model to others.
Lloyd Baker, studying law at Ottawa Ontario University, felt this was a great opportunity to be exposed in a positive light because so often young people only seem to be noticed when they become involved in negative activities.
As early as Friday, the faces of the 12 recipients, who each received $500, will be spotlighted on billboards island-wide for the next six months.
Proud of Them chairman Joel Francis said the recognition is “for being hard- working individuals, displaying leadership skills, participation in a variety of activities and a level of achievement that has preserved and motivates others.”
Minister for Youth Osbourne Bodden said it is important to recognize young people, despite government being tasked with so many other projects and polices.
“Proud of Them was a no-brainer and we only needed to speak to the young people to realize the talents that abide in our homes and schools,” he said.
He added, “The initiative required little resources compared to the budget for family assistance, punitive and security measures.”
Mr. Bodden said government is dedicated to encouraging these promising young people to reach greater heights and the national platform serves to enhance self esteem and gather wider community support for other positive efforts.
“Such recognition is a small token in return for their significant attainment in academics, careers, business, sports culture and community service,” he said.
Each honoree was selected through a public nomination process.