By Christopher Tobutt
(Photos by Stacey-An Anderson, Communications Officer and FOI Assistant)
With the theme “Imagine If,” 195 students of John Gray High School beat all the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, proudly graduating in front of teachers, dignitaries, moms and dads, brothers and sister and of course school friends too. It was a big night, not just for John Gray, but for the future leaders of the Cayman Islands. It was just the beginning for them, as they walked out on an uncertain world, yet full of the hope of new doors opening and limitless possibilities.
Addressing the students, The Department of Education’s Lyneth Monteith said, “I encourage you to hold onto your dreams and continue to imagine endless possibilities. Life is constantly changing. With change comes challenges. At times these challenges my overwhelm you, they may even cause you to fall, but rest assured that your strength does not lie within the number of time that you fall, it lies in how well you rise and reposition yourself to get back to your goals.”
During the opening prayer, Pastor Christopher Murray said, “We ask you God for wisdom, wisdom to know when to say yes, and when to say no, wisdom to know when to let go, and when to hold on, and Lord we ask you tonight to bless us with the choicest of blessings
Principal Jonathan Clark said, “Last year our world looked so different. Imagine if the challenges of this year made you better, stronger, and wiser. With every risk there’s an opportunity and every day you can be the very best version of you, knowing you have your family, and this very powerful network of John Gray and Cayman behind you. Imagine after this year you have more courage. Growth rarely comes from within your comfort-zone. I ask you to set your own standards now, your own expectations…have higher expectations for yourself, higher than ours.
Reverend Dr. Christopher Rose gave the main address. “How are your imaginations working this evening?” he asked the graduates. “Imagination is more than knowledge. For many years we have trained our people to become employees, rather than to become the men and women who change the whole trajectory of how society does things. A man or a graduate without imagination is like a bird or a plane without wings.
Rev. Rose read from Jeremiah 29 Verse 11. “‘For I know the thoughts that I have towards you, plans for good things and not evil things, plans to give you a great hope and a great future,’” but what are you going to do with it? If you sit down, nothing will happen. You’ve got to strive to achieve. So I say to you this evening friends, stretch your imaginations so that you will become the next great man, the next great woman that will be spoken of in this country…you can become anything that you want to become in this life.”
It was time to present out the graduation diplomas and other special awards. The graduates were awarded into different groups according to their level of academic achievement, and one by one they came up onto the stage. Special awards in subjects were presented to students who had excelled, but there were also awards presented for notable achievements or participation of various kinds. The Governor’s Achievement Award was presented to Janice Contreras – Holness by H.E the Governor, Martyn Roper. The Cultural Award, sponsored by Martyn Bould, was presented to Lé Bron McLean, and the Kiwanis Award for Key Clubbers was presented to Kabira Palmer. Jehiel Henry received the Top Business Studies Student Award, sponsored by Ralph Lewis, Publisher and Owner of the Caymanian Times, and Brittany Wright and Nefertiti Moore received Most Outstanding Student in Principles of Business and Most Outstanding Student in Office Administration respectively.