On Friday 19th August, teachers across the sister islands congregated at the auditorium of the Layman E Scott Senior High School on Cayman Brac for the annual back to school conference.
Just after 9:30 the Ag, SSIO for the sister islands Mr. Adrian Jones got proceedings underway. “Today, we are extremely grateful to Almighty God for His protection over these past few months. With His help we have been able to navigate this pandemic but still need to be vigilant. Our government must be thanked for their sterling efforts. We offer condolences to the family of Bonnie Bodden who died during this time. To our teachers, hats off to all of you for the marvellous job you performed during these abnormal times.” He then called on Mrs. Lavern Ryan to lead the assembly in prayer. She gave the Lord thanks for His Grace and Favour, and protection and called upon all to remain vigilant as we move forward.
Mrs. Lynette Monteith, Ag. Chief Officer then addressed the gathering. “The last few months have been extraordinary indeed,” she said. “From one of normalcy we moved to social distancing, hand sanitizing, and wearing of masks. I know these have been stressful times. It gave us an opportunity to do things differently. You rose admirably to the task and challenges. The priority of the Ministry is to keep everyone safe as we re-open. We are proud that our recruitment this year has been mainly local in nature. I am encouraged by the level of preparations you all have undertaken to be ready to welcome our children back to school.” Her remarks ended with a short video.
Mrs. Tammy Hopkins, Ag. Director of Education Services welcomed all present. “This function would normally be held on GM. Today is auspicious because we have the opportunity to come to the Brac. As we ready ourselves to welcome our students, we continue our journey towards a world class education system. Strive always to do your best. Our challenges became opportunities success. Remote learning brought out the best in all of you and for that we are thankful. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Her remarks were accompanied by inspirational videos. Mr. Joel Francis, Deputy Chief Officer then introduced the Minister of Education, the Honourable Mrs. Juliana O’Connor Connolly.
“First of all my thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and protection toward us. When this pandemic broke we were first of territories. Safety of all was paramount. Christians prayed and proved to be a formidable army. Your role was significant as you adapted immediately to remote learning. There were many issues but I saw your determination to ensure the students were taught. You worked tirelessly daily and I know late at nights to get your task completed. We have asked the private sector to join us in advancing the process, and they have responded with donating laptops. Your 2nd tranche of your remunerations will appear in your September paycheck. You all are super heroes for without you there will be no other professions. Education is the fuel for all engines of society. As long as I am Education I committed to constructing a new high school on the Bluff. I have been grateful to have served you over these last 4 years. God bless you all and these wonderful islands.”
Ag. Principal of the High School, Mr. Devon Bowen concluded the function with the vote of thanks.