The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) and the Youth Services Unit (YSU), unveiled two new billboards at the Cayman Brac Playing Field on Friday, January 22. The billboards represent the past and the present eras of the Proud of Them Honourees programme and features 2021 honouree, Christon Ferguson and 2019 honouree, Allison Flores-Hernandez.
In his welcome remarks at the unveiling ceremony, MEYSAL Deputy Chief Officer Joel Francis thanked the Cayman Brac authorities and the public for their role in recognizing the youth and also encouraged continued public support for the programme. “We thank the authorities in Cayman Brac for permitting us to install these billboards here and to amplify the song of our young people even more. We also thank the community for their support and ask it to continue to play its role in the programme by submitting strong nominations with supporting evidence of our young people’s achievements so that we can continue to encourage and highlight them to always reach higher,” declared Mr. Francis.
Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly described the unveiling of the billboards as a happy and historic occasion. “Today, we have the opportunity to herald and acknowledge two of our bright young people in Cayman Brac. Although Cayman Brac has many bright young people, these two have had exceptional achievements. Being that these are the first Proud of Them billboards in Cayman Brac history will certainly record it in a positive light that your hard work and dedication paid off,” stated Minister O’Connor-Connolly.
Acting Head of the YSU James Myles, expressed his gratitude to all those who were instrumental in the event’s success and looked ahead to the many possibilities for the future of the Proud of Them programme.
2021 Proud of Them honouree Christon Ferguson was seemingly filled with mixed emotions at the unveiling of the billboards. “The unveiling of the billboard was an exciting moment for me. I feel truly honoured as we don’t usually see billboards in Cayman Brac. At first, I thought it would go up in Grand Cayman, but when I realized it would be erected here, I was nervous knowing I’d be on one of the first billboards. I am also inspired to know that other young people in my community will now look up to me as a role model and will be motivated to work hard so they can be featured on that billboard as well,” Christon stated.
Allison Flores-Hernandez, a 2019 honouree, expressed gratitude that her billboard which was once displayed in Grand Cayman, was now in her community. “I am truly grateful for the continuous support offered by MEYSAL and I’m really proud to have my billboard on display at home! I’d like to encourage other young ‘brackas’ to fill the entire sports complex with billboards. If you believe in yourself and work hard, you can achieve anything,” Allison declared.
Prior to the unveiling ceremony, the YSU also hosted a special morning assembly at Layman Scott Senior High School where 2021 honouree Christon Ferguson is a student. Students received words of encouragement from Minister O’Connor-Connolly and Mr. Joel Francis and had the opportunity to view the 2021 Proud of Them honouree videos.
Addressing the students, Minister O’Connor-Connolly expressed optimism that the billboards would motivate them to excel. “From now on, every time that you as young people visit the football field, you will be reminded of your peers. It will motivate you to work hard to ensure that you too will make it on to a billboard as a symbol not only that you have succeeded but that you have excelled,” Minister O’Connor-Connolly remarked.
Another two billboards that feature past Proud of Them honourees will be relocated to Cayman Brac in the coming months.
To learn more about the Proud of Them Youth Programme, visit www.youthservices.ky.