February 8, 2023

Cayman Islands: 2016 Caymanian scholars selected for UWC

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Ayanda Jones

Ayanda Jones

The United World Colleges (UWC) global educational movement will enrol three more Caymanian students in August, as the local national committee has selected Ayanda Jones, Julian Menko and Chanelle Scott as its 2016 scholars. Studying for the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma, during the two-year pre-university programme they will live and study alongside young people from diverse cultures and backgrounds who are also committed to the UWC mission of using education as a force to unite people for peace and a sustainable future.

At each of the 15 UWC colleges around the world, an average of 80 different countries will be represented at any one time in a student body of approximately 200 students. Academic achievements are put into perspective with a demanding mix of community engagement, international affairs, physical activities, service commitments and creative pursuits. UWC is committed to educating the whole person, delivering principle-based education and life-defining experiences for young people. This distinctive model of education is internationally recognised and has the deliberate diversity of the student body as well as the faculty at its heart.

Ayanda Jones will be the first local student to attend UWC Red Cross Nordic in Flekke, Norway. Predicted to obtain all A and A* grades when she completes her ‘O’ level examinations in eleven subjects, this year 11 Cayman Prep and High School student is interested in international relations and social and environmental issues. Though only 15 years old, Ayanda has already represented her school’s senior Model United Nations club in Hungary and in the United States. Despite being one of the youngest participants, at the most recent Princeton Model United Nations Conference she was also awarded Outstanding Delegate in the 44-person African Union Specialized Committee. Described as a sophisticated and precise communicator and effective networker, Ayanda is also a Junior Prefect, Student Council Secretary and heavily involved in Key Club, the Marine Conservation Dive Club and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

Julian Menko

Julian Menko

Julian Menko will attend UWC-USA in Montezuma, New Mexico, which was one of two UWC colleges to enrol the first Caymanian scholars in 1984. After being home schooled for most of his education, Julian is currently in year 11 at Cayman Prep and High School and will complete ‘O’ level examinations and graduate this summer. Interested in aviation and travel, Julian plans to study accounting and finance at university and hopes to pursue a career in aviation finance. A diligent and high-achieving student, Julian is also President of his Key Club, Vice President of the Student Council, a Junior Prefect, and a member of the Debating Club and the senior Model United Nations team at his school, as well as a recipient of the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. He has been playing baseball for 8 years and recently picked up squash.

Chanelle Scott

Chanelle Scott

Chanelle Scott will attend Li Po Chun UWC in Hong Kong after completing her ‘O’ level examinations and is on track to graduate from Clifton Hunter High School with high honours. Having already obtained five Level 2 passes and expecting to gain eight more this year, she received the Proud of Them Award for academic achievement in 2015. Described as a mature and conscientious leader and natural scientist, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Chanelle has been part of Junior Achievement, Cayman Islands Youth Assembly, her church youth group and YouthFlex and is currently Head Girl at her school, helping to lead the prefect body and Student Council and working closely with staff. She is also a choreographer and dancer with Dance Unlimited Company, plays the flute in her high school band, sings in the choir, and is on the netball and swim teams.

Chairperson of UWC Cayman Islands Aubrey Bodden (UWC-USA ’04) noted this year’s scholars were selected from a very competitive group of applicants and the Foundation is delighted to also support each of them with scholarship funding. Fundraising activities and direct financial support from the colleges and from local donors such as Maples and Calder and the Aall Foundation ensure cost is never a barrier to the most deserving students accessing a UWC education. As a result, all students all around the world are selected by volunteer national committees based entirely on merit and potential, regardless of background or ability to pay.

“UWC creates change makers and our scholars go on to achieve great things in their schools, workplaces, communities, and the world as a whole,” Bodden commented. “UWC helps students discover the possibility of change and reach their potential in all areas. Scholars learn that they can help to change the world through their courageous action, personal example and selfless leadership. Therefore, investing in these scholars invests in our shared future and will result in a better, safer, and more peaceful world.”

Ayanda, Julian and Chanelle will join a growing community of UWC students and alumni, including current Caymanian scholars Gabriella Castillo (UWC Costa Rica ’17), Haley Willkom (UWC Adriatic ’17), Giovanna Stafford (UWC Adriatic ’16) and Sean Whewell (UWC-USA ’16). Additionally, Cayman Islands resident Abijith Anu, currently in Year 11 at Layman E. Scott Sr. High School was selected to attend UWC Dilijan in Armenia through UWC India and other local residents have also enrolled at UWC colleges after being selected through UWC Jamaica, including Kayla Elliott, who completed her ‘O’ level examinations at St. Ignatius Catholic High School in 2014 and will graduate from Pearson College UWC in British Columbia next month.

Selection Process:

The recruitment process for UWC scholars usually begins in earnest in January, when UWC Cayman Islands representatives visit secondary schools across Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac to give presentations about the UWC movement and the local application process. For 2016 the process was moved up to accommodate a new extended nomination and acceptance process with the colleges.

To be eligible to apply through UWC Cayman Islands, students must be Caymanian and aged 16 or 17 years on 1st September of the year of entry. While there are no set minimum academic criteria, the International Baccalaureate is an academically rigorous programme and candidates are expected to have attained – or be on track to attain – at least 7 ‘O’ level higher passes or the equivalent.

The Selection Committee, which is made up of mostly UWC alumni, reviews each written application and particular consideration is given to academic achievement, co-curricular involvement, community service and passion for the UWC mission and values. Up to 12 applicants are selected for an individual interview.

Following individual interviews, the top 5 or 6 applicants move on to a group stage, where participants discuss important local and international issues and interact with each other through team building exercises and group projects.

After this final stage the scholar or scholars for that year is/are chosen to represent the Cayman Islands at one of the UWC colleges. As of September 2016 there will be 16 colleges in the UWC movement.

The UWC movement depends on a network of “national committees” and selection contacts around the world to carry out selection within each nation entirely on the basis of merit. There are just over 150 national committees as well as selection contacts in nations that do not have a full national committee.

UWC Cayman Islands only considers Caymanian students for selection and refers non-Caymanian students to apply through their own national committee or through an “international quota” process as necessary, depending on application requirements set by the relevant national committee. A number of Cayman Islands residents have successfully applied through this process in recent years and participate in local events, though they were officially selected and supported by other national committees.

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