Xara Mon Desir of Cayman Prep School is the winner of the Junior Division of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s 2018 essay competition.
The 11-year-old topped the regional competition with a 500-word essay titled “Cayman Kind.”
The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism made the announcement about her win at Cayman Prep School during a brief presentation. Xara earned prize money of US$3,000 and Cayman Prep School received a matching donation of $3,000.
The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Children’s Essay Competition was open to all primary and secondary students in the Caribbean and Central America. They had to write about what cultural aspects of their country cruise passengers should experience. Cayman competed against 19 countries from within the Caribbean and Latin America.
In her essay, Xara wrote, “As we all know, tourism is a huge part of the flow of money into the Cayman Islands. There are lots of different aspects of our culture that draw more than one million tourists to our shores each year; but the most appealing thing about Cayman culture, which every tourist will surely experience is the warmth, friendliness and generosity of ‘Cayman Kind.’ When we say Cayman Kind, we mean the spirit of Cayman and the uniqueness of our people.”
Her essay encourages visitors to walk through the streets of Cayman and meet the friendly and kind people who will gladly tell them about adventures at sea, and to savor some of the authentic Caymanian traditional dishes such as turtle stew, conch stew, Cayman-style beef, fish fritters and Johnny cakes.
She reminded readers there is more to see than just the George Town port.
“Hop onto a public transportation bus and start your journey to one of our many world-famous, white-sand beaches. Visit Seven Mile Beach, Governors Beach, or head to Stingray City to snorkel and swim with the majestic stingrays. If you prefer, you could take the more scenic route to North Side and head up to Rum Point for the day. During your journey, a cheerful and knowledgeable bus driver will excitedly share with you his expertise on the many historical buildings that you will pass on the way,” she wrote.
She encouraged tourists to “Visit Cayman when a festival like Batabano or Pirates Week is occurring, you will have the time of your life. After a full day of masquerading, you will walk back to your cruise ship extremely satisfied and delighted that you could have experienced the gift of Cayman Kind. A gift you will surely never forget.”
Xara said she decided to enter the competition because she loves writing, and a teacher encouraged her to enter.
“I got the idea of writing about Cayman Kind because of all the warmth I encounter living in the Cayman Islands. I love the idea of incorporating Cayman culture like the people, the food and the beaches,” Xara said.
With the prize money, Xara said she will put some in the bank, buy a ukulele and maybe something for her whole family to enjoy.
Xara’s teacher Brenda Pryce said the school will used its money to further develop Cayman culture in the primary school social studies curriculum, and to buy books about the Cayman Islands.