May 6, 2021

Cayman Islands: First Proud of Them Awards Ceremony reaches milestone

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GRAND CAYMAN (GIS) – Round 10 of the Proud of Them Awards Ceremony celebrated the achievements of 12 honourees in a memorable milestone event.

Held at George Town Yacht Club on Wednesday, 9 January, the evening featured musical entertainment, and a buffet meal which was a first in the programme’s six-year history.

Awardees having been nominated were recognised for their outstanding contributions in the field of careers, academics, business, community service and sports.

 The evening’s recipients were Jade Barnard, WB – Academics; Jorel Bellafonte, BT –  Sports; Greyshell Bent, GT –  Community Service; Jillian Crooks, GT – Sports; Julisa Dilbert, GT – Business; Allison Flores-Hernandez, Cayman Brac – Academics; Tarec Francis, BT – Community Service; Isabella Hall, GT – Academics; Nathan McCoy, GT – Academics; Dominic Owens, GT – Academics; Diego Smith, WB – Career and Shannon Williams, GT-  Academics.

Attended by all finalists, the ceremony also included the honourees’ family members, friends and representatives of the National Youth Commission. A musical prelude by cellist Dequan Ebanks accompanied by Mrs Fran McConvey opened the event. The young musician, who will be attending Wells Cathedral School shortly, performed a medley of palm court arrangements.

Finalists’ profiles, outlining their specific achievements in the nomination area were read out by the evening’s emcee and awards scheme co-founder, Assistant Chief Officer (Youth and Sports) Joel Francis. Mr. Francis acknowledged that the programme had to date honoured 120 recipients.

Following Amber McLaughlin’s rendition of the National Song, Round 1 awardee Chekiya Tatum from Cayman Brac was the guest speaker. The private tutor gave an inspiring address sharing her Proud of Them experience, adding an impassioned call-to-action to finalists using proud as an acronym.

Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly gave remarks which drew from her childhood and educational experiences on Cayman Brac in the face of economic challenges. Her reminiscences featuring her hopes and dreams of university and career were clearly the motivation behind the many ways in which she earned pocket money to eventually go on and exceed her dreams. The Minister extorted honourees to continually challenge themselves and use “setbacks as a launch pad for come backs”.

Each recipient received their award certificate and $500 by the Minister joined by Councillor of Education and Youth, Hon. Barbara Conolly, Councillor of Sport, Hon. David Wight and Acting Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho. 

Honouree profiles will be made available to the local media and roadside billboards with pictures of each finalist will be featured shortly.

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