Caymanian scholars selected for UWC

| 09/05/2018
CNS Local Life

The 2018 UWC scholars (L-R) Fenna Madison, Mark Plowright and Juliana Gaspar

(CNS Local Life): The United World Colleges (UWC) global educational movement will enrol three more Caymanian students this August, as the local national committee has selected Fenna Madison, Mark Plowright and Juliana Gaspar as its 2018 scholars. Studying for the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma, during the two-year pre-university programme the three scholars will live and study alongside young people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

These students worldwide are committed to the UWC mission of using education as a force to unite young people for peace and a sustainable future, stated a UWC press release. UWC said it is dedicated to educating the whole person, delivering principle-based education and life-defining experiences. 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.

“We had a strong group of applicants this year and after a vigorous selection process Mark, Fenna and Juliana were selected,” said Ridhiima Kapoor (UWC Adriatic ’07), vice chair of the national committee and chair of this year’s selection committee, which she said “was impressed by these students and we know that they will represent Cayman well”.

Fenna Madison is the first student selected through the local national committee to attend UWC ISAK Japan in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo in Nagano Prefecture. She has excelled inside and outside the classroom in her time at Cayman Prep and High School, where she is an active member of Key Club and working toward her Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.

With an interest in pursuing a career in medicine, economics or engineering, Madison maintains exceptionally high grades in her demanding academic schedule. She plays the piano and is first trombone in the senior school band, which she enjoys because she is able to practise and play with a group of people and perform a variety of pieces, from orchestral to swing. Madison has been sailing competitively for five years and has competed in local and international regattas.

Mark Plowright will be attending UWC Adriatic in Duino, Italy, a small town on the northern coast. A student at John Gray High School (JGHS), he is expected to receive his Level 2 Diploma with High Honours. Plowright is an active member of his church youth group, Key Club and Junior Achievement, where he served as president of his company. He plays basketball and has represented Cayman overseas in track and field.

A skilled debater, Plowright has competed in various inter-school tournaments and took first place in the Optimist Oratorical Competition last year. An accomplished, self-taught musician, he plays piano, saxophone, guitar, organ and steel pan and was a finalist for Young Musician of the Year. He is part of the University College of the Cayman Islands steel band and the JGHS swing band and has performed at the Cayman Arts Festival.

Juliana Gaspar will attend UWC-USA in Montezuma, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A firm believer in an individual’s ability to change the world, the Cayman Prep and High School student gives back to the community in many different ways. She has been participating in Model United Nations for three years, which she noted has been a big part of her development as delegates learn how to research and consider issues from different perspectives.

Gaspar has volunteered as a teaching assistant and said she is keen to continue building her leadership and communication skills. A talented dancer and actor, she has used the arts to develop her confidence and concentration, channel her creativity, and learn valuable lessons about teamwork and engaging and connecting with those around her.

Chairperson of UWC Cayman Islands Aubrey Bodden (UWC-USA ’04) noted the importance of offering financial assistance for the scholars. “We were delighted to also work with the colleges and our foundation to award partial scholarships, ensuring our selection process continues to be carried out entirely on the basis of merit.”

Fundraising activities, direct financial support offered by the colleges on an as-needed basis, and longstanding local donors such as Maples and Calder, the Aall Foundation and Greenlight Re ensure cost is never a barrier to the most deserving students accessing a UWC education, said the press release.

“The UWC experiences goes beyond two years as we create agents of change,” Bodden said. “Scholars and alumni are more attuned to the world around them and don’t just tolerate diversity but rather celebrate our differences as well as those common things that unite us. At the core of our mission is the idea that education can be a force to unite people for positive action.”

Current Caymanian scholars are Elijah Samson (Li Po Chun ’19), Marley McCoy (Pearson College UWC ’19) and Courtney Thomas (UWC Maastricht ’19), who are now completing their first years at UWC colleges in Hong Kong, Canada and the Netherlands, respectively.

Ayanda Jones (UWC Red Cross Nordic ’18), Julian Menkó (UWC-USA ’18) and Chanelle Scott (Li Po Chun UWC ’18) will graduate this month and all three plan to move on to tertiary studies in the UK.

More than 70 Caymanians have attended UWC colleges since the national committee was established in 1984. Most have since returned home to live and work in a variety of industries, including the public sector, financial services, law, politics and medicine.

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