Friends, family, teachers, and mentors all gathered this past Saturday 26th of March to celebrate the success of young Caymanian Aiden Watler, who was recently honoured by the National Youth Commission’s (NYC) ‘Proud of Them’ campaign, which celebrates the best of young Caymanian talent and achievement.
The mood was buoyant as Aiden’s parents, brother, former teachers, and principals braved the scorching late morning heat to pose in front of Aiden’s billboard, which can be viewed at the CUC Roundabout for the next year. Aiden is one of 15 recipients of the ‘Proud of Them’ award scheme, the recipients of which each being featured on billboards spread around Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
A high achiever from a young age, life hasn’t always been easy for Aiden. “Aiden was born very ill,” explained Aiden’s mother, Sandra. “He had to be air-ambulanced out as soon as he was born. As a result of that [we were] always having him overcome challenges and just be determined and focused, and not dwell on any negative issues – use his strengths and focus on that. I think this is why he’s been so good, especially being very articulate.”
Aiden has applied these qualities to realise myriad exceptional achievements as a young man. As a 2021 recipient of the William A. Dart Memorial Scholarship, Aiden currently attends UC Berkeley in California. A decorated scholar during his time at Cayman Prep and High school, Aiden achieved outstanding results in A Level Maths, Further Maths, Physics and French, as well as 8A*s and 3As in his GCSEs. Capping this all off, Aiden was given the honour of Head Boy, and chaired CPHS’ Model United Nations for several years.
Aiden has also applied himself commendably outside of the classroom as a champion debater, winning the Conyers Inter-school debates on numerous occasions, and representing the Cayman Islands in the World School Debating Championship. An active member of the community, he has also participated in and mentored younger children at Natural Cultural Foundation (CNCF) programmes, represented the Cayman Islands at Carifesta, and even starred in “Rundown”, a comedic theatrical production tackling the Caymanian zeitgeist.
Aiden’s exemplary academic record and quality of character were echoed by those gathered to support him on Saturday. “I remember [Aiden] as a young boy in the class, always very determined, very kind, always taking initiative – so it doesn’t surprise me in the least that he was one of the Caymanian’s chosen for this honour,” said Ms. Brenda Bryce, Aiden’s Year 4 teacher.
Mr. Karl Murphy, Aiden’s High School Principal, continued to sing his praises, lauding Aiden as “ambitious” and having a “profound integrity.” “Anecdotally, I am proud that I taught Aiden to tie a bowtie. He will need that skill as I imagine he will be needed as a keynote speaker in the years to come,” said Mr Murphy.
Needless to say, it’s onwards and upwards for Aiden Watler as he continues to make Cayman proud.