By Christopher Tobutt
The University College of the Cayman Islands celebrated their best students in their Fall 2020 Honours Convocation. Convocations like this represent great opportunity to recognize and honour more than 100 students who have put in extra work and effort, and so celebrate Cayman’s future leaders and exemplars.
Two categories are recognized, the Dean’s List, where students GPA is between 3.5 and 3.744, and the best of the best – the Presidents List, where students have really excelled, maintaining a GPA of more than 3.75, and each of the students came onstage to receive their certificates. Because covid-19 has disrupted everything this year, the convocation, which means ‘call together,’ honoured students who had made each of the lists, over more than one semester, so that sometimes when a student was called onstage it was actually for a certificate that represented more than one achievement.
Addressing the students, UCCI President and CEO Dr. Stacy McAfee said, “I am so glad to know that you are pushing the boundaries of personal accomplishments, making new discoveries, and ultimately accomplishing what you set out to do through resilience, dedication, and hard work. Across the disciplines you have found excellence. Now more than ever, the world needs your contribution and UCCI scholars we hope you will remember to pay the gift of education forward, to benefit your local and global communities. Students’ academic excellence goes beyond the grade point average. It includes the ability to cope with the changing world, solve problems on one’s own, and be well-equipped for the future.”
Dr. J.D Mosley-Matchett Interim Vice President and Provost said, “This is a celebration. These students are our best and our brightest…we are literally calling together those students who have made this remarkable academic achievement, Thank you for all the hard work. Thank you for the achievements you have accomplished, and thank you for choosing UCCI, you have made us so very proud.’
In her Congratulatory Message Ms. Lyneth Monteith, Acting Deputy Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education, told the students, “I am reminded of the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who determined that excellence is not an act, but rather is the habit of repeated practices that arise out of character. In other words, your excellent academic achievement arises out of your commitment in achieving your desired goals, and your consistent hard work.”
One of the students being honoured, Kristen Rankin, said, ““Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it. You have all worked hard and are now reaping the benefits of it. So congratulations give yourselves a round of applause.”
After each of the students came onstage to receive their President’s List or Dean’s List certificates, there was an interlude from the amazing UCCI dancers, who charmed everyone with a dance in long dresses and red fans. The dance was choreographed by Dr. Monkia Lawrence.
Dignitaries and leading businesspeople from the community were then asked to come onstage to present the special awards, given to students who had particularly excelled either at an academic subject, or as an exemplar of character. Kimberly Perry received the Mary Anne Cannon award, which exemplifies the quality of helping others in the community. Kimberly Tigley received several different awards during the evening, including the Bachelor of Finance Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, and the Highest Achiever in Finance Courses Award.
Finally, as has become the tradition, each of the parents, staff and faculty members were invited to join the students in a toast to their achievement, and to the future of the Cayman Islands.