By Flynn Bush
You might have heard the phrase, “A regular who’s who,” referring to a list of distinguished, or VIP, persons in a specific industry or field. For example, a “who’s who” in the movie industry might include Denzel Washington, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep. In other words, this phrase refers to the cream of the crop, so to speak. Well, one young Caymanian just got named to one of those lists recently.
For several years now, Lacee Barnes has been breaking through barriers and notching up achievements in the world of athletics. This multiple CARIFTA medal winner, double Cayman Islands record holder (shot put and discus), NCAA college athlete has blazed a trail for other Caymanians to follow. She is also on her way to qualifying for the Olympics in her two throwing events. This, in of itself, is worthy of recognition. Lacee, however, is not one-dimensional, by any means.
Miss Barnes has always made academics a priority; and with the help of her parents, Molly and Lance, has strove to achieve as much as she could in that arena as well. This led to her garnering the Student of the Year award at Clifton Hunter upon graduation, Honors at St. Ignatius for her A-Level passes, and the awarding of scholarships from CIG, IMAC and UTSA (her current university.) The latest in that trail is the placement on the Deans List this past semester, which is earned by achieving a GPA above 3.75.
When asked for a comment Miss Barnes chose to state, “When I was growing up, both my parents instilled the importance of academics for future success. My love for sports was always followed by my drive to succeed academically as well. I aim to stand as an example for all athletes showing that we can do well on and off the field and that we are not limited to our physical abilities. I believe athletes are some of the most brilliant people in the world and I want to continue to showcase that for my country.”
In 2019, Lacee won the Sophomore of the Year award at her school’s “University Life Awards” ceremony. This award regards athletics, academics, and community involvement as the major criteria for selection; it was a great prelude to what was to come.
Early in April, Lacee received notification of her latest honor. She has been named to the “Who’s Who at UTSA” list. The letter stating that the Dean of Students would present this honor to her, meant that she was one of a small minority of students to be recognized in this way. In fact, out of more than 32,000 students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, she is part of an elite group of students.
For further clarification, for this honor to be awarded, the student must have achieved well in several different areas of student life. The notification letter, the school’s representative stated to Lacee that she was chosen specifically for this award based on her “academic achievement, leadership, and membership in co-curricular activities and organizations, “as well as her “potential for continued success.” That is quite an honor.
Upon hearing of this honor, Minister Julianna O’Connor Connolly wished to add her message of congratulations for Lacee. She stated, “Congratulations, Lacee, on your selection to Who’s Who at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Throughout the years you have made us proud with your achievements in shotput and discus both at the national and international level. Your receipt of this prestigious award not only lays testament to your tremendous sporting talent but also underscores your ability to balance both athletics and academics at the highest standard. On behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands, I salute you and am confident that this is only the beginning of greater things to come.”
I feel sure that the entire country would lend its congratulations to our young ambassador. Lacee Barnes has continued to achieve well; and make her family and the entire community proud. We feel strongly that there will be more honors to come, and we look forward to celebrating those as well.