By Lindsey Turnbull
Every year Cayman Prep and High School celebrate all the great things about living in the Cayman Islands and this year students welcomed special guest Governor Martyn Roper, who visited students during their Cayman Cultural Week to speak at their morning assembly and see the celebrations for himself.
The celebration of all things Caymanian used to be a day-long event but this year organiser and support for learning teacher at the school, Ms Brenda Bryce, said they decided to spread activities over a full week.
“We thought we would expand the celebrations of Caymanian history and culture in this important year that the Cayman Islands celebrates its 60th anniversary of its Coat of Arms and also Cayman Prep and High School’s 70th anniversary,” Ms Bryce confirmed.
Governor Roper spoke at the students’ morning assembly, at which Swanky Kitchen Band entertained the students. Students were also encouraged to ask the Governor questions, to which they found out that the Governor’s favourite Cayman food was seafood, Stingray City was a favourite place that he had visited and his favourite thing to do in Cayman was meet the people of the islands.
He said this was the first time he had visited a Cayman school and he was extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of the students and staff at this special celebration.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Cayman Prep and High School, especially the music and the dancing to Swanky Kitchen Band. I think their Cayman Cultural Week is a great celebration of what Cayman is all about,” he confirmed.
Governor Roper added: “This is part of a programme of events we have lined up so I can meet as many people of the Islands as possible, so I can hear their concerns and issues, which will help me do my job as effectively as I can.”
Between 25 and 30 people came from the community to talk to students about Caymanian ways of life, old and new, and year two students were able to go on a trip to Hero’s Square, while year six students visited the Cayman Islands National Museum, Ms Bryce confirmed.
Representatives from the community who came to speak at the school included Loxley Banks from Cayman Catboat Club, Z-99’s popular radio personality Jason Howard, representatives from the Department of the Environment, Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Crystal Caves, Cayman Turtle Centre, author Erin Connelly and Sir Turtle himself, from Cayman Airways.
Ms Bryce said she was especially grateful to Ms Virginia Foster:
“Ms Foster of the Bodden Town Heritage Committee brought in a wonderful display of old-time toys and games for the students to enjoy,” she said.
Ms Bryce said that they converted an area of the school into an old-time classroom, where students could learn from chalkboards and people from the community were teaching students as they did in times gone by. Students were encouraged to dress up in Cayman dress – whether that was old time costumes, or dressing up as a tourist or popular Caymanian figure such as an iguana or turtle.
“I think the students learned a great deal about Caymanian heritage and culture,” Ms Bryce confirmed. “They know about the Coat of Arms and what each of the symbols represents. They particularly enjoyed the traditional Cayman food tasting and in particular loved the swanky lemonade and the heavy cake. They know all about Cayman’s national symbols and they have learned to appreciate what we have in the Cayman Islands.”
Students Ella Galatopoulos and Grace Harlowe both gave presentations in the assembly. Grace’s comments spoke to how students appreciated what they had in Cayman when she said: “I learned that it was very different in the past but it was very cool and nice. We should be thankful today for everything that we have. We are lucky to live in a beautiful country where we have everything that we need.”