October 15, 2021

Cayman Islands’ philanthropists donate bus to Cayman Academy

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Cayman Academy on Monday (16 January) received a 26-seater school bus, a donation from local entrepreneur and philanthropist Kenneth Hall, Jnr., and his wife Waynette.
The custom-made 2017 Ford bus, equipped with seat belts and special driver-controlled window security, will be used to transport students to and from Cayman Academy. It will similarly transport students and teachers participating in special events. The Halls have licensed and insured the vehicle for three years.
At Monday’s handing over at Cayman Academy, Mrs. Hall said that the donation was prompted by some transportation challenges her niece, Paula Ann Thompson, a student at the school, was experiencing.  When the Halls checked at the school, they discovered that the school did not have a bus of its own.
“All we ask of you is that you all take care of the bus so you can be proud of it whenever you travel in it,” Mrs. Hall told students gathered for Monday’s brief ribbon-cutting ceremony, in which Deputy Head Boy Le-El Blake and Head Girl Kristen Reid officiated.
Donor Hall is son of prominent Cayman entrepreneur Ken Hall, Snr, also known for his philanthropy. Kenneth and Waynette are directors and owners of Cleaning Connection Ltd., a residential and commercial janitorial service company.  They are both members of the Adventist faith.
“We are Seventh-day Adventists first and foremost,” Mrs. Hall said in explaining their commitment to service.  “When Christ came to earth He was a servant before He became a king,” she said.  In following His example, she said, the couple had sought ways of expressing their duty to serve as a fundamental aspect of their church and community involvement.
As an example of his commitment to service, donor Hall will also serve as one of the drivers for the bus.
The Halls are members of the Savannah Adventist Church, whose pastor, Dr. Ivor Harry, is also the Education Secretary for the Seventh-day Adventist Conference, with responsibility for oversight of Cayman Academy.
Dr. Harry, who played a liaison role between the Halls and the school, commented: “It is not often that we find persons with the spirit and willingness to discover and minister to the needs that exist around them,” adding: “Cayman Academy Is indeed grateful for this outpouring of consideration and kindness.  It is now incumbent on all stakeholders of the institution to honour God and these generous benefactors by taking the very best care of this gift, using it in a manner calculated to prolong its usefulness to the school.”
The school’s beneficiaries now number 335 students, from kindergarten through to the post-secondary Caribbean Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level. Places at the school, now operating at capacity, have been in increasing demand, said Principal Dr. O’Neil Duncan, partly due, he said, to the school’s steadily rising success rate in external exams.  The school performed at a record pass rate of 95% in the 2016 Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) examinations.
The increase in the school’s population and the growing complexity of curricular and extra-curricular activities have made the acquisition of the bus a very well-timed event, said Chairman of the Board, Pastor Shion O’Connor, who is President of the Cayman Islands Conference.
Formally receiving the gift of the bus on Monday, Pastor O’Connor said that the school’s programme would “be significantly enhanced by this very substantive gift,” adding: “We are indebted to the Halls for their magnanimity and their keen thoughtfulness in helping the school family.  On behalf of the Board of Governors, we say ‘thank you’ to the Halls and pray that God will continue to bless them and the school.”
The School Board Chair’s words were echoed by Principal Duncan, who expressed his delight, saying: “This gift to the school is an answer to prayers,” as the bus may be the only available and convenient means of transportation to and from the school for many students.
As the new transport arrangement comes on stream, the principal appealed to parents to ensure efficient time management among students using the service: “The school bus must operate on a strict time schedule,” he reminded, and encouraged parents to take the opportunity to teach responsibility about preparing the night before and waking up on time to be ready when the bus calls.
On the added value of this resource to the school’s overall operations, Dr. Duncan said: “Our new school bus is going to be of immeasurable benefit to teachers and students in meeting the needs for transportation for curriculum-related field trips and other excursions.”
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