It was a poignant moment at Saturday’s Golden Apple Awards when Glenn Whewell commandeered the microphone at the end of a speech by Jennifer Artuch, who had just been named the top high school teacher in a private school.
Whewell, a teacher himself at John Gray High School, recounted how his son wanted to take A-level biology at St. Ignatius, where Artuch teaches the course. He’d done poorly in his previous biology course.
“She said, ‘Well, at school, you need a B (to take A-level), you got a D,’” Whewell recounted, having to pause at several points as he choked back his emotions. “She said, ‘Of course you can.’ She took him under her wing and he got a B at A-level. And tonight, my son is training to be an art teacher.”
It was an example of the kind of dedication meant to be honoured at the event, hosted at the Kimpton Seafire by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce. This is the seventh year the awards have been held since their inception in 2007.
Addressing a crowd of more than 200 people, Chamber of Commerce president Chris Kirkconnell said the awards are designed to recognise teachers who have made a significant impact, those who “go above and beyond the traditional sense of education and use their influence to teach more than just the curriculum”.
Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said having the awards feature an apple made of Caymanite was appropriate because, “Our teachers rock.”
Twelve finalists were honoured during the event. Among those, winners for best primary and high school teachers were named – one each for private and government schools – along with best principal and a lifetime achievement award, which went to Marjorie Scott, who taught physical education at the primary level for many years.
During Scott’s acceptance speech, which kept the crowd entertained and laughing for the better part of half an hour, she recounted her career as, first, an English teacher and, later, as a primary PE teacher.
Acknowledging her fellow educators, she spoke about the help they had given her.
“Along my journey, I picked up a village,” she said, holding up her trophy. “I’m sharing my award with all my villagers.”
Golden Apple Finalists and Winners
Government Primary School
- Nadesha Nyathi (winner), Bodden Town Primary School
- Erica Powell, Savannah Primary School
Private Primary School
- Kelly Cowling (winner), Cayman Prep and High School
- Allison Copeland, Cayman Academy
Government High School
- Kerita Levermore-Stewart (winner), John Gray High School
- Dee Clark, Cayman Islands Further Education Centre
Private High School
- Jennifer Artuch (winner), St. Ignatius
- Daniel Baker, Cayman Prep and High School
- Katherine Dilbert, Grace Christian Academy
- Adrian Jones (winner), Layman E. Scott High School
- Clare Thorpe, Island Montessori
- Marjorie Scott, Prospect Primary School