Two students receive Minds Inspired scholarships

Thomas Sevik Jr. of Layman E. Scott Senior High School on Cayman Brac and Diandra Whittaker of St. Ignatius High School in George Town have been chosen as Dart’s Minds Inspired scholarship recipients.

Each student will each receive a four-year high school scholarship based on their academic excellence, with a focus on mathematics and science.

The students will also be invited to participate in a multiyear mentoring program with Dart employees and “special enrichment experiences designed to introduce new horizons and expand recipients’ world view outside of the classroom,” a press release states.

The most recent enrichment experience took scholars to Oxford University in the U.K. where they attended a two-week residential academy that focused on preparing them for university studies.

Organizers said the Minds Inspired High School scholarship program involves a blind-selection process designed to remove distinguishing details such as school, age, gender, etc., and keep the identity of the applicants confidential from the selection panel.

This year, 10 students were short-listed and advanced to a second round: a mathematics and science test and a timed essay. Eight students progressed to the third round, which involved an interview with a Dart executive. During the fourth and final round, a selection committee reviewed the information on each of the five finalists and selected the two scholarship recipients.

According to the press release from Minds Inspired, Thomas has a natural affinity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. He won the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Science Fair in April and is well known at Minds Inspired events, having participated in the Minds Inspired Mathematics Challenge, Cayman Islands SeaPerch competition and the Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture Camp.

Thomas is not yet sure of the career or profession he is interested in pursuing, but he knows he wants to graduate from university with a degree in one of the STEM disciplines.

In his free time, Thomas enjoys exploring nature, is an avid diver and has a keen interest in conservation and the environment.

Diandra is described as a “well-rounded student who has excelled within the classroom, in sports and through community service.” Recognized numerous times as the Student of the Month at St. Ignatius Catholic School, she has been named Student of the Year for the past three years. She is active in her school’s extracurricular activities and plays multiple sports, including football and touch rugby. She was also elected Patrol Leader for her school’s Girl Guides group by her peers and manages programs for her unit. She serves on her school’s Builders, Science, and Key Clubs.

Diandra hopes to become a neurologist and wants to be the first Caymanian physician to focus on treating chronic brain-related illnesses in children and adolescents.

Each year, three other finalists are recognized for their strong performance in the selection process. This year’s finalists were Natalia McCoy of John Gray High School, Bijou Forget of Cayman Prep and High School, and Oisin McGeough of St. Ignatius Catholic School.

“Every year, we are amazed by the student applicants and their high level of achievement both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Mark VanDevelde, chief executive officer of Dart Enterprises. “It becomes more challenging each year for the scholarship selection committee to choose from the bright, diverse group of applicants. Diandra and Thomas are committed to their education and plan to use their knowledge to improve our community. We are confident that they will be excellent ambassadors for the Minds Inspired brand.”

The selection committee consists of eight professionals, five leaders in local industry and the community, plus three Dart senior executives.

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