As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the Brac’s Layman E. Scott Sr. High School held a special thanksgiving service last month.
The service, organized by the anniversary celebratory committee headed by Wanda Tatum and Yvette Gayle, was held on Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre. It marked the official launch of the school’s 50th “Golden” anniversary and was attended by various dignitaries from education and government, along with alumni and members of the community, a press release states. Special guests included Premier Alden McLaughlin, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs Tara Rivers, and Acting Chief Education Officer Lyneth Monteith. The school’s first principal, the late Layman E. Scott, was represented by family members who were in attendance.
According to the school’s website, the Cayman Brac Secondary Modern School opened on Jan. 23, 1967 with 73 students and 4 staff members.
“Previous to this time, the Jamaica Local Centre had been the only Government facility whereby Brac students could pursue education beyond Standard 6 – which represented 8 years of formal schooling – with most students reaching this point at about 14 years of age,” it states.
The site notes that those who were successful in passing first, second and third year exams at the Centre were eligible to pursue enrollment at either Shortwood or Mico Teachers Colleges in Jamaica. Otherwise male students either usually opted for a career at sea, while females sought out whatever employment could be found on the Brac.
“Some moved to Grand Cayman to explore the possibilities of further education or employment there, and a few went to Jamaica as well as the USA,” the site notes.
“Often this meant that an entire family would relocate in pursuit of higher education and/or employment. The evidence of this lies in the many successful long term enterprises on Grand Cayman which are owned by Cayman Brackers.”
According to the site, the school’s origins lie in the efforts of Sister Islands elected representative, Capt. Keith Tibbetts, who along with his colleague Burns Rutty, had fought for a high school on the Brac for many years. With a grant from Colonial Development Funds from the U.K. the school was built at an estimated cost of £20,000 by local builder Lee Jervis, supervised by U.K.-based Voluntary Service Overseas engineer Mike Griffiths, and completed in December 1966. Mr. Scott, who was working in Canada, was recruited by Chief Education Officer Islay Conolly to be the first principal. Teachers G. Hartwell Wood of Bodden Town, Joan Hughes of the U.K., and Virginia Tibbetts, only 15 at the time, of Cayman Brac made up the rest of the staff.
In his address at the thanksgiving service, Mr. McLaughlin praised the vision of those who worked to establish the school in 1967.
“The school’s motto is ‘Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might,’” he noted.
“Given the high rate of achievement of Brac students over the years, it is apparent that this is a motto that students, faculty and staff have embraced and emulated,” he continued, commenting the school has succeeded in preparing students for life, work and tertiary education.
The service also featured a performance from the school choir, and several speakers, including remarks from former student Stephen Ryan, who underscored the importance of acknowledging God in all our accomplishments. Heidi Knowlton-Wallace and Elisa Ryan-Brown gave vocal performances and accompanying music was provided by the school’s music teacher, Kasandra Scott-Salazar.
The school’s 50th anniversary celebrations continue until July 2017. Information can be found on www.facebook.com/lshs50ann.