Chamber brings back Golden Apple Awards

The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce is reinstituting a program to recognize the best teachers in both public and private schools.

The Golden Apple Awards, which were given out starting in 2007, went dormant after 2013. This year, as part of the chamber’s three-year advocacy program, the awards will again be given out in May.

“I’m not sure why it was dropped,” said Chamber president Paul Byles. “We want to make sure these people in education are adequately recognized.”

The awards will be given out to the top primary and high school teachers in both the private and public schools. A single award will be given to the best principal, either public or private.

Mr. Byles said the awards are part of a multi-pronged push by the Chamber to “bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace.”

The Chamber, he said, has always involved itself in promoting education, but “for the next three years, I guess you could say we’re ramping it up.”

Over that period, he said, the Chamber will be working to make students more aware of the vocational and technical trade opportunities available in Cayman. It will also be trying to open more avenues for students to pursue such careers.

“We’ve started doing some videos of those careers,” Mr. Byles said. “We’re trying to encourage students to look at other careers, not just banking. They can become young entrepreneurs.”

Chamber members, he said, plan to visit schools and speak to students about the variety of careers open to them. In addition, it plans to broaden its summer programs, offering jobs in various work sectors.

“The Chamber has such a diverse set of opportunities for the summer,” Mr. Byles said. “We have everything from carpentry to an attorney.”

He said the Chamber understands the need for students to have a good educational foundation.

“We are also focusing on numeracy and literacy in our schools,” he said. “We’re currently just doing our research on that to find out what we can do in that area.”

Bringing back the Golden Apple Awards, he said, seemed like a natural component of the three-year effort.

“We think it’s timely now,” he said.

The deadline for nominations is March 23. Nominees must be full-time educators or principals currently working in a public or private school.

Forms are available at all schools and at the Chamber’s offices in Governors Square from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. They are also online at www.caymanchamber.ky. Businesses or organizations interested in helping to support can call 743-9129 or email [email protected] for information.