(CNS Local Life): Round 10 of the Proud of Them Awards ceremony celebrated the achievements of 12 honourees in an event held Wednesday, 9 January. The young people were recognised for their outstanding contributions in career, academics, business, community service and sports. 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.
The recipients were Jade Barnard, West Bay – academics; Jorel Bellafonte, Bodden Town – sports; Greyshell Bent, George Town – 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 the finalists, the ceremony also included the honourees’ family members and friends, as well as representatives of the National Youth Commission, stated a press release. A musical prelude by cellist Dequan Ebanks, accompanied by Fran McConvey, opened the event. The young musician will soon be attending Wells Cathedral School.
Following Amber McLaughlin’s rendition of the National Song, guest speaker, Round 1 awardee Chekiya Tatum from Cayman Brac, spoke of her Proud of Them experience. The private tutor gave “an impassioned call-to-action to finalists using proud as an acronym”, the release said.
Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands Juliana O’Connor-Connolly gave remarks which drew from her childhood and educational experiences on Cayman Brac in the face of economic challenges, according to the press release. “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,” it said.
The minister urged honourees to challenge themselves continually and use “setbacks as a launch pad for comebacks”.
Each recipient was presented a certificate and $500 by O’Connor-Connolly, joined by Councillor of Education and Youth Barbara Conolly, Councillor of Sport David Wight and Acting Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho.
Roadside billboards will feature photos of each of the awardees.