A number of young Bodden Towners were recently honored for their efforts and accomplishments as Proud of Them finalists at a reception at the George Town Yacht Club this month.
This year’s field of 72 candidates were nominated by friends, acquaintances and community members for reaching new heights in academics, sports, career, culture, business and community service.
Proud of Them began in 2012 to highlight the works of young people and showcase their initiative and positive attitude.
Among the 12 finalists were Bodden Towners Derricka Neysmith, David Forbes, Channah Connor, Giselle Ebanks and Bruce Gordon.
Derricka fulfills the definition of a well-rounded young woman and an example of a young person “reaching higher.”
At 14, Derricka passed external exams in English, electronic document preparation and management, and mathematics, with distinction. The Clifton Hunter High School graduate passed a total of 12 external exams.
She ranked 10th out of 141 students on graduation day and was recognized with several honors. During the ceremony she was also awarded the Save Our Youth medallion for community service, in addition to gaining recognition for being a top 10 academic student and receiving one of the highest averages in external exams.
After graduation she went on to Cayman Prep for her A levels. Upon completion, Derricka says she would like to attend university to pursue a degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Currently she is part of the Cayman Finance educational work experience program, working this month with accounting firm EY.
Now 16, Derricka’s accomplishments are not limited to school. Football has been a major part of her life. The winning mindset she has on the field also translates to other areas.
She is a member of Academy Sports Club as well as Cayman Prep’s football team. A proud moment was when she was selected to represent the Cayman Islands at the inaugural CONCACAF U-15 Girls Championships. The team made history by advancing to the quarterfinals, placing fifth out of 16 teams. She also represented the country during the U-17 World Cup Qualifiers held in the Dominican Republic.
Derricka blends her love of football with community service. She coaches primary school students in two local schools. She also became a FIFA-certified grassroots football coach, as well as serving as a coach for Academy Sports Club’s junior football program.
She and a friend started a teen service group called “Jas & Derri Give Back.” The two hope to attend Global Leadership Adventure Sports Service in Costa Rica next year, and to host a local football drive to collect football gear to donate to international teams who are less fortunate.
She is a member of Key Club, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, student council, and is a “reading buddy,” mentoring young students.
She also took on various leadership roles in Junior Achievement for three years, and has been a member of her church choir for five years.
Savannah’s David Forbes, 18, another Bodden Towner among this year’s Proud of Them finalists, is an exemplary student who already has a string of major awards and personal achievements to his name.
His record of academic success began early when he was named Head Boy at Savannah Primary School. During his time at Savannah Primary he was awarded the Joanna Clarke Award, which celebrates excellence in education.
David maintained his standard of excellence when he moved to secondary school. He was the Top Student in Years 6, 7 and 8. He was also a prefect and Head Boy at Clifton Hunter High School.
For three consecutive years he was a member of Clifton Hunter’s team for the KPMG Brain Bowl, a competition that tests students’ general knowledge.
He graduated with high honors and attained several awards, including Student of the Year, Christian Character Award and Top 10 highest averages in external exams. Following high school, he earned an associate degree in mathematics from the University College of the Cayman Islands.
In 2010 he was named the co-champion of the National Spelling Bee.
He has been a Minds Inspired scholarship recipient since 2012, which has allowed him to visit the Dart Neuroscience research lab in San Diego, California, as well as CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2013 he represented Cayman at the Optimist Club’s Oratorical District competition in Kingston, Jamaica, and won the event.
David’s gifts extend to music. He has won several National Children’s Festival of the Arts gold and silver awards in trumpet, piano, band and vocal categories.
He passed with merit the Trinity College, London Grade 6 trumpet exam, and was a finalist in the 2013 Young Musician of the Year competition. He has also shared his musical talents by playing the trumpet in the Police Band and as accompanist for the Cayman Youth Choir.
A devout Christian, David wants to use his talents as a music ministry and is currently the accompanist musician for his church.
This fall David will pursue a degree in actuarial science at Ohio State University.
Editor’s note: Next week we highlight Bodden Town Proud of Them finalists Channah Connor, Giselle Ebanks and Bruce Gordon.