50 years ago: Secondary Modern School opens on the Brac

In the Feb. 1, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

“The doors of Secondary Modern education opened to the children of Cayman Brac on the 23rd at 8:30 a.m. when 73 children attended.

“The members of staff are:

“Principal – Mr. Layman Emmiel Scott who was born in Spot Bay, Cayman Brac in 1931, started his schooling with Miss Mellie McLaughlin, now Mrs. Caswell Robinson. He then went to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where he attended elementary school and St. James High School, obtaining the Cambridge School Certificate in 1949. In 1950 and 1951 he attended the Business School of Miss Lena Levy, Montego Bay and St. John’s College, Falmouth, pursuing mainly a course in accounting.

“Deciding on teaching as a career, he entered Mico Training College in 1952, gained his Teacher’s Certificate and joined the C.I. teaching service in 1956 at West Bay School. In December, 1965 he felt the need for expansion and resigned on that account. Turning to Canada he applied to the Canadian Board of Education which granted him a Certificate to Teach on the basis of his professional qualifications. He holds a Teacher’s Diploma from the Ministry of Education in Jamaica.

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“Mr. Scott had been six months in Canada and was Principal of Allen Bigwood school in Rutter, Ontario, when he was recalled by the Cayman Islands Government to take up his present post.

“Mr. George H. Wood of Bodden Town, Grand Cayman, who obtained his schooling at the Bodden Town Primary School to the third Jamaica Local Certificate. After a period at sea he returned home and taught at West Bay for one year. Accepting a scholarship to Mico Training College, he graduated in June 1966. His elective subjects were geography, economics, and arts and crafts and he won the Case Cup for Art for his graduating class.

“Miss Joan Hughes, who came to the Cayman Islands in 1966 under the British Volunteer Programme. Born in 1934, she was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. In 1951 she took drama training in London and worked as an actress until 1958.

“Choosing teaching as a career, Miss Hughes entered St. Mary’s College at Fenham [from] 1958-60, and on leaving college, taught for six years at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Newcastle.

“Miss Virginia Tibbetts was born in Trinidad in May 1951. Her schooling began at the West End Primary, Cayman Brac and Phillip Street private school, Trinidad. At 10 years she entered the Jamaica Local Centre here and at 12 was accepted at the Bob Jones Academy, Greenville, South Carolina.

“Miss Tibbetts graduated from this academy the youngest ever from the school having done summer school for two years so that she could graduate in three rather than four years. She majored in social studies and at graduation received the Spanish award for the class.

“This school was erected by a grant from Colonial Development Funds from Britain at an approximate cost of 20,000 pounds and was supervised by Mike Griffiths, V.S.O. Civil Engineer.

“Work commenced with the cutting of the site in February 1966, foundations were poured in May, construction continued with a very small labour force due to the many other construction projects under way, in November a larger force became available and the work was completed in December 1966.”

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