Lighthouse students make the grade

Nine students were honored at Lighthouse School on Tuesday in a graduating ceremony. 

Graduates Albert Bodden, Alia Gomez-Brown, Cody Conolly, John Henkis, Chloe Walter, Jordan McLean, Marcus Scott, Michael Evans and Shaun Ebanks received leaving certificates from Winston Connolly, Ministry of Education, Training and Gender Affairs councilor. 

A number of students received top awards from Acting Chief Education Officer Lyneth Monteith, as Chloe Walter and Shaun Ebanks delivered moving addresses. 

Mr. Ebanks said his time at Lighthouse School was fun and he had gained a lot of confidence and was happy to have made employee of the month at his job. He thanked parents, teachers and the community for their involvement and said he would always try his best. Ms. Walter said she would always remember friends, teachers and her counselor. She was fortunate to get job experience at Conyers, Dill and Pearman and had done very well, she said. To her peers, she said “good luck” in the world with their endeavors. 

Deputy Principal Olga Gourzong introduced guest speaker Kasinda McField. 

Ms. Mcfield, a University College Cayman Islands graduate, diagnosed as having Kniest dysplasia told students that despite challenges they could make it. 

“Even though each one of us is different, I believe each one of you can contribute positively to society in your own way. We need to embrace unity, love, and respect for each other and others, and embrace and empower and encourage each other,” she said. “Don’t allow anyone to define your ability, or put you in a box. Be yourself. Show your uniqueness; show them that you can exceed your expectations.” 

In the principal’s report, Carla MacVicar said students should trust in God as they entered the next stage of life.  

“There are many tests and trials that you will go through, however, remember that such experiences make us stronger and build our character. Thomas Edison said it best, ‘Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’ So when life throws you a few hard balls, don’t give up but seek God’s wisdom and you will succeed,” she said.  

Founded in 1976 the Lighthouse School meets the educational needs of special needs children.  

Lighthouse School is the only all-age government school in the Cayman Islands catering specifically to students between the ages of 4 years, 9 months to 18 years with moderate to profound disabilities and/or multiple disabled, noted Master of Ceremonies Cheryl Thompson during her introduction. 

To graduates, Education Councilor Mr. Connolly said, “Dream chasers, go chase your dreams. Let no one ever tell you you can’t. Remember our motto, “Yes we can … you can do it,” he said. 

Ashani Francis-Collins contributed to this report. 

“Even though each one of us is different, I believe each one of you can contribute positively to society in your own way.” Kasinda McField, 

Graduates Albert Bodden, Alia Gomez-Brown, Cody Conolly and Chloe Walter celebrate their graduation from Lighthouse School, to the tune of ‘Say Yes’ by singer Michelle Williams. – PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY