High school wins funds for reading project

| 12/11/2008

(CNS): John Gray High School (JGHS) has received CI$12,000 KYD to help fund its “Blueprint for Literacy” initiative after winning the dms Organization Ltd. Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award (JCA) 2008. TheJGHS project aims to ensure that all high school students, upon graduation, will be able to perform at their grade levels and pass at least four external exams.


The JGHS literacy committee was established in September 2005, and the grant will assist in further funding and ensuring the continued success of their ongoing programme, facilitating the purchase of 20 books for each of their 50 classroom libraries, books for book club members and audio books for classroom use and leisure reading.

“We had a number of great applicants and even better finalists. John Gray High School had an exceptionally impressive initiative which we are confident will succeed and are honoured to support – congratulations to them in this achievement,” said Don Seymour, President of dms Organization.

The other finalists recognized at the ceremony included East End Primary School (funding for musical instruments); North Side Primary School (Read it! Rate it! Release it! programme); PACE High School (Work Education Project); and Prospect Primary School (Passport to Peace programme).

The Award celebrates the exemplary service of longtime educator  Joanna Clarke and provides funding up to $12,000 KYD annually. dms launched this cornerstone education initiative to recognize the efforts of all persons and organizations that contribute to education in the Cayman Islands. The first recipient (2007) of the award was Savannah Primary School PTA, which used the funding to pay for new playground equipment.

Seymour said investing in the education of our children is paramount to the future of Cayman, and this award is part of our ongoing commitment to recognize education initiatives and provide them the support to succeed “Ms. Clarke was a natural choice for me as she played a significant role in my education and in the education of so many of Cayman’s children. Ms. Clarke has dedicated her life to children, steering Cayman’s youth in the right direction for over 40 years.”



The call for applicants for the 2008 JCA began in June with an island-wide advertising, publicity and promotional campaign titled “12,000 Reasons” highlighting the many reasons to invest in education in the Cayman Islands.

The JCA Committee carefully reviewed all applications submitted and narrowed the selection down to five finalists whom were invited to give a oral presentation outlining their project and demonstrating how the five JCA criteria would be met by their proposed project. The JCA criteria are: ensuring that the initiative contributes to and promotes excellence in education in the Cayman Islands; is sustainable and measurable; contributes to increase parental and/or community involvement in education; is affiliated with a reputable educational institution or organization; and demonstrates a proven history in successful education projects and/or teaching.

Literacy Education Specialist Tanya Marie Dwigh explained that after each committee member indicated their numerical rating, an average score was determined for each component of the selection criteria mentioned above. “Those average scores were then combined to create an overall score for each project. Based on the final numerical score for each project, we were able to designate the funds for this year’s award,” she said.

Chairperson of the Joanna Clarke Award Committee Clarke added that she was  truly honoured to be the namesake for the.

“My passion has always been to enhance the education of Cayman’s children as they represent the future of our island.”

Seymour thanked all the individuals and organizations for taking the time to submit their applications. “We appreciate all applicants’ efforts to improve the education of Cayman’s youth and encourage you to continue in your strides to make a difference – it takes a community effort. We encourage all of the local schools to apply for funding for the 2009 Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award.”


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