Twelve of Cayman’s most outstanding teachers from local and private schools were honored at the 2018 Golden Apple Awards on Saturday, May 26.
Before a crowd of nearly 200 people at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Chamber of Commerce President Paul Byles said he was encouraged by the turnout in support of the education profession.
“Education is one of the most important aspects of our community, and educators have the unenviable task of shaping the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.
The major award winner of the evening was Nimmi Sekhar, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award.
Ms. Sekhar of Cayman International School was recognized for 33 years of service in education. She received a standing ovation as she accepted her award.
“I feel very privileged to have been a part of the school, and the excellent school community that we have in the Cayman Islands,” Ms. Sekhar said.
“I consider this recognition and this honor as a jewel in the crown of my professional life.”
For primary public schools, Shakeina Bush of Sir John A. Cumber Primary School took home the Golden Apple. Heather Thompson of Lighthouse School was the honorary runner-up.
“I hope, as I stand here tonight, I inspire young Caymanians who are unsure about being a teacher in the future. If it’s your calling, the calling of your heart, go for it,” Ms. Bush said.
Emily Garvey of St. Ignatius Catholic School won the category for primary private schools, with Asynthia Lewis of First Baptist Christian School as runner-up.
“My students are incredible, just as all students are. Their love of learning, their happiness, and their resilience is really important to me as a teacher. It’s not just about academic success, it’s about them knowing in their hearts and their minds that, no matter what life throws at them, they have that resilience and that confidence to succeed,” Ms. Garvey said.
For public high schools, Patrice Douglas-Hanson of John Gray High School won with Denise Henry-Colquhoon of Clifton Hunter High School as runner-up.
“I’ve always said that teaching, for me, started out as an accident,” Ms. Douglas-Hanson said.
“Reflecting on my journey in teaching has given me reason to believe that my place in the classroom has been anything but accidental. I’ve met some fantastic students and worked with some terrific people along the way.”
For private high schools, Coaine Richards of St. Ignatius Catholic School took home the Golden Apple. Bill LaMonte of Cayman International School was the runner-up.
“I take great pride in knowing I have chosen the right profession because every day I enter the classroom, I have an opportunity to make a difference in this world through the next generation,” Mr. Richards said.
Three finalists – Marcia Rennie (Edna M. Moyle Primary School), Mable Richardson (Triple C High School) and April Tibbetts (West End Primary School) – were considered for the top principal of a public or private school.
Ms. Rennie won the category.
“One of the questions I was asked on my interview was ‘what would you tell someone going into teaching?’ I said I’d tell them it wasn’t an easy job. I’d tell them it was often a thankless job. But I’d tell them it was always a rewarding one,” she said.