School leaving ceremony celebrates achievement

Recipients of the Mario Ebanks award for all-round performance.

The Sir John A. Cumber leaving ceremony for the 94 members of the school’s Year 6 class recognized the many and varied accomplishments of the students, now embarking on a new journey as they move on to high school.

At the ceremony on June 17, the assembled students were joined by their teachers, invited guests, Education Minister Tara Bush and other elected officials and dignitaries, including Education Ministry Acting Chief Officer Lyneth Monteith and Sir John A. Cumber Acting Principal Lorna Lumsden.

The highest achieving girls and boys were recognized with the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School award for outstanding academic achievement, given to students who have achieved and consistently maintained a level 4A or above in all subjects.

The school leaving class and attendees sing the school song.
The school leaving class and attendees sing the school song.

The McKeeva Bush Award went to students demonstrating outstanding community and citizenship involvement. This award is given to students who are involved in community services in West Bay and the wider community, and was presented by West Bay MLA and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Bernie Bush.

The Mario Ebanks Award for all-round performance went to students who do well in academics, have attended the school since Year 3, and are involved in extra-curricular activities, including sports.

The Sir John A. Cumber competition for excellence in writing, inaugurated by the Cumber family to honor the contributions made by the late Sir John A. Cumber to education in the Cayman islands, awarded prizes for first, second and third place.

The Heritage Arts award went to those students who excelled in the program, focusing on keeping local traditions and skills alive.

The winners of the Sir John A. Cumber award for excellence in writing, from left, 1st place Megan Evans, 2nd place Jordana Johnson and 3rd place Raeanne Ebanks-Hydes.
The winners of the Sir John A. Cumber award for excellence in writing, from left, 1st place Megan Evans, 2nd place Jordana Johnson and 3rd place Raeanne Ebanks-Hydes.

The ceremony also featured a talk from keynote speaker Renee Ebanks, a former student of the school. At 23, she holds a BA in psychology from Cardiff University in the U.K. She completed her master’s degree in disorders and clinical practice at the University of York, U.K., and plans to continue with her studies and pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

She is employed with the Cayman Islands government in the Department of Counselling Services, and is also a member of Rotaract Club Grand Cayman.

In her speech, “Embracing the future with confidence,” Ms. Ebanks offered the class a number of tips on successfully pursuing one’s dreams.

Looking back on her talk a few days later, Ms. Ebanks said she was nervous but honored to share what she had been able to learn from her life experiences.

“First off, you need to know yourself, by accepting yourself, and being true to yourself, because that way you will be less susceptible to other influences that may make it more difficult to focus on your goals,” she said.

Twenty-two girls earned the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School award for outstanding academic achievement.
Twenty-two girls earned the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School award for outstanding academic achievement.

“You also need to believe in yourself, and focus on the positive things about yourself, and to do things that are challenging and not only take the easy way.

“At the same time, setting realistic, reachable goals will help you get where you want to go. It’s also important to invest your time wisely, because if you take the time to develop your knowledge and interest in what you want to do, you will be able to embrace your future with confidence.”

“Lastly, to have God by your side will help a great deal with achieving your goals,” she said.

“Following these strategies has got me to where I am today, and it was such a privilege to have the chance to speak to these young people at my former school,” Ms. Ebanks said, noting it was a particularly special occasion as her nephew was among those graduating.

“Hopefully, the pointers that I was able to offer will in some way resonate with the class,” she said.

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