27 Cayman students win essay awards

Twenty-seven students from the Cayman Islands won awards in the Royal Commonwealth Society’s “Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition” this year.

Four Cayman students received gold awards, eight won silver and 15 received bronze.

The first Cayman Islands winner to receive notification of her gold award was 13-year-old Martina Watler, a student at St. Ignatius Catholic School, as she was also selected one of the top overall winners. Martina was recognized as a Junior Runner-Up. She will receive her prize at Buckingham Palace.

The winners were selected from more than 13,000 entries from 49 Commonwealth countries and territories. In total, 3,000 students from participating countries received a gold, silver or bronze award this year. The theme of this year’s contest was “A Young Commonwealth.”

Royal Commonwealth Society Honorary Represen­tative Lemuel Hurlston said that this was a very successful year for Cayman Islands students in the essay competition, with more gold and silver winners than ever.

“It’s quite an honor for a small country like the Cayman Islands to be picking up the number of prizes that we are picking up,” Mr. Hurlston said. “It takes quite a substantial effort.”

He also noted that this was the first year that a student from the Cayman Islands was recognized as one of the overall winners.

Gold, silver and bronze award-winners will receive certificates from the Royal Commonwealth Society. They will also be recognized at a local awards ceremony next year.

The Cayman Islands has been participating in the competition for more than 40 years, Mr. Hurlston said. The competition is open to all students in the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Hurlston hopes that in the future more schools will encourage their students to participate in the essay competition, especially schools in the Cayman Brac.

“My hope is that we continue to excel and continue to produce better and better results as we compete in a global field and make our country proud and make our students proud,” Mr. Hurlston said.

This year’s award winners at the senior level include Grace Christian-Welcome and Tyrese Ebanks, who both attend St. Ignatius High School and who each received a gold award. Abigail Ebanks, also attending St. Ignatius, received a silver award.

Senior bronze award winners are Renee Bennett, who attends John Gray High School; Grace Ruby, who attends Triple C; and Brandon Saunders, Emili Small, Chezarie Henry, Bianca Meghoo and Abraham Powery, who all attend St. Ignatius High School.

At the junior level, Eliana Nickason from Cayman Prep, and Martina Watler received gold awards. Junior silver award winners are Kayleigh Bodden, who attends Edna Moyle Primary School, and Matthew Reddyhough, Sarah Harrison, Erika Sobers, Viktoriya Bolgova, Samruddhi Tagalpallewar and Carlton Wright Jr., all of whom attend St. Ignatius.

Junior bronze winners are Charlize Milgate and Juliana Gaspar, who both attend Cayman Prep, and Shannon Wright, Gary Masterton, James Cameron, Kelsi Persad, Beth Walton and Miquela Montana, all of whom attend St. Ignatius.