A dozen dynamic young people gained recognition for their achievements and potential during this year’s Proud of Them awards ceremony and reception last month.
Accompanied by friends and family, recipients were feted at the George Town Yacht Club. They were presented with their certificates and $500 cash stipends.
The faces and biographies of the young honourees will soon grace the Proud of Them billboards throughout Grand Cayman shortly. Here are four profiles of the nominees:
Kayla Ramos – Academics – 23 – West Bay
Kayla Ramos has a passion for working with children, so it is only fitting that she is on the path to become a teacher. Her niche, and self-proclaimed calling, is in special education. She has just graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and will now pursue a master’s in Special Education.
During her four years at UNL, Kayla made the dean lists, and is maintaining a 3.8 GPA. She was chosen to participate in the university’s undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience Programme, which supports undergraduates to work with faculty mentors in research. Kayla is the only student from the Caribbean to be given this opportunity.
She has gained valuable, practical in-class experience. Teachers who have mentored Kayla note that she is a reflective teacher, who creates positive interactions in the classroom. She plans engaging lessons, and uses the latest technology, to meet the needs of all learners. She is also praised for her desire to build relationships with her each of her students. Enthusiastic, open-minded, positive, calm and patient are also descriptors used to illustrate Kayla’s teaching style.
Kayla not only has a heart for her students, but for the community as well. She has volunteered for several non-profit organisations both in Cayman and in the United States. Some of those organisations include the Lincoln Children’s Museum, the Kit & Dick Schmoker Reading Center Tutoring Programme, and her university’s student council.
Back at home, Kayla serves as a softball coach with the Cayman Islands Little League. Whether in the classroom, or through community events, Kayla is making a positive impact on the youth.
Isaiah Robinson – Academics – 17 – George Town
Anyone who attended the 2016 John Gray High School graduation is sure to be familiar with the name Isaiah Robinson. He was one of the many students recognised for their academic excellence, walking away with a number of awards and accolades, on the night of the ceremony. One of those awards is the EY Achievement Award for academic excellence, an award that is given to just one student at each high school.
He received the Angela Martins plaque for excellence in English. He also was the recipient of the Sportsmanship of the Year award, for representing Cayman on the national and international level in squash and track and field.
Isaiah was one of 13 students, out of a class of 166, who was awarded a Level 2 High School Diploma with High Honours. He achieved 12 passes with grades of one and two, with merit and distinction. His success on graduation day came as no surprise, as he has consistently excelled at academics throughout his school years, regularly receiving the certificate for best report.
Those who know Isaiah best describe him as a well-rounded and mature young man. His polite demeanour served him well in his role of school prefect. He has also been heavily involved with his church’s Vacation Bible School, assisting the programme in a variety of capacities, and serving as an example to the young attendees. Isaiah’s success in academics, sport and community service is an excellent example of a young person reaching for new heights.
Brittany Mobley – Sports – 23 – George Town
Brittany Mobley has the distinction of being a member of two national sports teams, and has represented the Cayman Islands, in ten countries, in football and netball. Her ability to excel at both sports shows her high level of commitment.
Brittany started in football as a defender for Elite Sports Club where she worked hard to develop her skills. In addition to playing for the national team for four years, she was also part of the pioneer Under-17 girls team, which made their mark at the CONCACAF Championships.
Brittany’s dedication has earned her the role of captain for several of the teams she has played for. Even when she did not hold that title, she still was a guiding force for her team.
Her time on the netball court started in high school, where the avid player took on the position of centre. In addition to playing on the national netball team, Brittany was also a member of All Stars, a champion team well known for their winning abilities. She also captained the team.
Brittany is sharing her skills in netball with pupils at Red Bay Primary School, as a volunteer coach. She achieved success in netball and football, all while working part-time, and attending classes at UCCI graduating in 2015 with an associates of science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. During her time at UCCI, she was on the president’s list and graduated top of her class with a GPA of 3.83.
Brittany is also committed to serving the community. She attended the Word of Life Bible Institute for one year. Following her completion of the course, she served as a summer counsellor with the institute’s summer camp. She has also participated in mission trips both locally and internationally, and serves as a Sunday school teacher at her church. Brittany is an honour student at the University of South Florida. She is maintaining high grades in her the bachelor of science degree course in Industrial Engineering and expects to graduate in 2018.
When Brittany completes her degree, her desire is to continue to play sports, as well as coach and guide young athletes.
Jessica Moore – Career – 24 – George Town
Jessica Moore is a self-proclaimed food enthusiast, and she is set to be a major influence in the Cayman Islands’ food industry. Her passion for the culinary arts started after high school. Her desire to explore her passion led her to shadow local chefs, to learn the tricks of the trade, all while performing her day job as a property manager. After a year of learning, she decided to share her knowledge and passion with the world.
In 2016, Jessica launched her blog and catering company, Taste This Life. In the blog, and on social media, she shares her recipes and tips, highlights local farmers, vendors and cottage industry entrepreneurs, and features trends that peak her interest.
Jessica has a special interest in the farm-to-table movement, which promotes the serving of locally grown food and creating relationships with the farmers who grow the produce. Indeed, the self-taught chef loves to use local ingredients in her culinary creations, and is more than happy to share with anyone who would have a seat at her table.
Her food chronicles helped her win a blogging competition, where the main prize was a chance to cover one of Cayman Islands’ premier foodie events – Cayman Cookout. Taking place every January at the Ritz-Carlton, the event is hosted by celebrity chef Eric Ripert, with regular appearances from other famed culinary masters such as Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres.
Jessica also covered Taste of Cayman, the national drink and food festival, where she also hosted a cooking class. Food is not the only arena where Jessica has found success.
In high school, she served as a peer counsellor, participated in sports, and was involved in community events. She graduated with honours and full house colours. She participated in the Global Young Leaders’ Conference where she was selected as an International Scholar Laureate. The hard work, dedication and passion that Jessica has displayed since her teens have shaped her career as a young adult. Given her drive she will doubtless continue to be a tastemaker in Cayman’s culinary scene.