It’s been several months since Megha Cherayath, 10, wrote her piece for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, long enough that when she was announced as a gold certificate winner on Tuesday, she had a hard time recalling what she’d written.
“It was about a boy called Jack,” she said of the essay that addressed the theme, “My Peaceful Place.” Beyond that detail, the story has faded from memory.
There was nothing faint about her excitement at winning. Her broad grin said it all.
“I didn’t think I would get anything, really,” she said.
Cherayath was one of eight students recognized with winning certificates at a morning awards assembly for primary students at St. Ignatius Catholic School on Tuesday. They were among 33 primary and secondary Cayman Islands students who won bronze, silver or gold certificates in the worldwide competition that drew 12,300 entries.
This was the first year the younger students at St. Ignatius participated in the 134-year-old contest.
The world’s top four winners in the contest, which is run by the Royal Commonwealth Society, travel to Buckingham Palace to receive their prizes. In 2015, St. Ignatius student Martina Watler was named a runner-up and made the trip.
Lemuel Hurlston is the Cayman organizer of the essay contest. He said he’s not sure why fewer schools participated in this year’s contest, but he hopes to generate more interest next year.
“I think we’ll simply be appealing to school principals to remind them of this opportunity,” Mr. Hurlston said. “The rewards are there as well. A trip to Buckingham Palace is not to be sneezed at.”
Gold certificate winners in the senior division of the essay competition were Jocelyn Cahill of St. Ignatius and Lucy Parchman of Layman E. Scott Sr. High School.
Yesenia Ebanks of Layman E. Scott Sr. and Asya Ebanks of St. Ignatius received silver certificates, and Pierce Morgan, Erika Sobers, Makeda Harris, Kelsi Persad, Alison Jackson and Nilakni Jayasekera, all of St. Ignatius, received bronze certificates.
Olivia Weaver, Linda Mukarakate, Megha Cherayath and Ava Hickey, all from St. Ignatius, received gold certificates in the junior division of the competition.
There were 14 winners of silver certificates in this category: St. Ignatius students Zayden Clarke, Louise De Jesus, Greta Ecke, Zara Garofalo, Jonathan Grandage, Diandra Whittaker, Kendra Harrison, Farrah Hydes, Leila Sulliman-Maw, Shayana Windsor, Sofia Venuto and Matthew Fischetti. Cayman Prep Primary student Clementine Lumsden and Eliana Nickason, who attends Cayman International School, were also silver winners.
The bronze certificate winners in this category were Keira Bodden from Layman E. Scott Sr., and St. Ignatius students Jhevere Harris, Sahil Jyoti, Doireann Lynch and Valeria Granados.