By Shakir Khan
(Photos by Stacey-An Anderson, Communications Officer and FOI Assistant)
A packed Aston Rutty Centre was the scene for the Layman E Scott Senior High School graduation ceremony for the class of 2020. Parents, guardians, families and friends of the graduates turned up in their numbers for the first COVID - 19, post- pandemic event on Cayman Brac. The evening was a bitter- sweet occasion as one of the graduates Ashlee Walton had passed away a few weeks earlier. There was a song dedicated to her memory, as well as a moment of silence. Ashlee was also the recipient of multiple awards on the night.
The theme for this year’s ceremony was, “RISING ABOVE THE ASHES.” It was inspired by Ashlee. After the preliminary items, the congregation joined in singing the familiar hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
In her remarks to the graduates the Minister for Education, Hon. Mrs. Juliana O’Connor Connolly praised them for their diligence and hard work especially Ashlee who was an outstanding student. The minister used the theme of the function to dedicate her remarks to the graduates. “Ashlee did not use, Rise, Raised nor Risen but RISING. This indicates a continuous process of getting up from when you are down and continually pressing forward to victory. Above indicates that you must not remain in the doldrums but ever pursuing your dreams. To be ash you have to be tried and tested and go through the fires of life. It is from this ash that continue rising. Stay focused on the finish line and never be distracted by what is around you. God bless you all.”
Melody Martin, a former student and current Human Resource Manager, was the keynote speaker. She used the life of Kobie Bryant to urge graduates to be successful. “Success is defined as the accomplishment of a set goal. Success has a lot to do with giving and receiving love. Destiny is part of success. At age 19, Kobie decided that basketball would be his goal. He was successful. As you move into your next phase of life become more curious. Think outside the box. Kobie lived to get better daily. You should do the same. There is nothing more beautiful in life than the part you are destined to trod.”
Valedictorian Kiara Brown in her address used the PHOENIX BIRD as her focus. Every letter she issued her meanings to her classmates. “Each of us is a Phoenix. Each is strong and resilient. Let us persevere, help to make others happy, celebrate optimism, learn from experiences, be noble in our endeavours, live for immortality, soar powerfully, and always seek ways to expand our knowledge, “she encouraged her classmates.
Ag. Principal, Mr. Devon Bowen proudly commended the Class of 2020. “When COVID changed the world, we were not spared. Online learning took off and the inspectors were in high praise for our dedicated work. I encourage all to make the distinction between being buried and being planted. You are the class chosen for such a time as this. We are proud of your diligent work and success. Let me especially highlight that in Mathematics Level 2 percentile was 84 %, English 95%, and Science 95% (loud applause). These surpassed expectations. I encourage you all to face the future with purpose and passion. God bless you all.” Presentation of certificates and awards followed his address.
Kiara Brown and Thomas Sevik Junior took the Outstanding Achievement Award while Daphne Scott, Lucy Parchman, Jenna Grant and Ashlee Walton were the recipients of the Academic Achievement Awards.
The vote of thanks was given by Eddie Martin.