With the academic year coming to an end, high school seniors across the Cayman Islands are busy completing their final exams and absorbing their last moments as the graduating class of 2021.
At Cayman International School, the 2021 seniors depart this June, but not before leaving their mark.
This graduating class has set the record for the largest one to date with 42 students.
Of those graduates, nine students take the title for longevity at the school, as they represent the last group of students who transitioned from the former Falkner Academy. They are now a part of the first class to complete all grade levels at Cayman International School since its opening in Camana Bay in 2006.
Louis Cona, a graduate and one of the "longevity nine," calls his journey at the school an impactful experience in his life.
“Over the years, the school has changed so much, evolving at each stage with new teachers, new classes and new buildings," he says. "But the level of education and student support has remained outstanding.”
Though this chapter in their lives is ending, the graduating seniors are at the cusp of the next one.
High School Counsellor Julie Pankratz says the students undergo a thorough process to determine which tertiary schools to consider.
“The process starts in their grade 11 second semester, when we conduct a number of activities that get students thinking about what they enjoy — which subjects they enjoy, what type of weather they enjoy — and will they require scholarships?” says Pankratz. “Then, we use a platform called BridgeU where students can input this data to build a student profile, and then the platform provides a list of universities they should consider.”
Each student then meets with their counsellor to review their personalised list, make their selections and begin applications. They are encouraged to apply to a mixture of schools with low, medium and high acceptance rates to have options.
Pankratz says parents are welcome to be a part of the process.
“Once they receive their acceptances, it requires another one-on-one conversation to review what the schools have to offer in order to make their selection,” says Pankratz. “It’s a tough decision.”
To date, the class has collectively been accepted to 127 schools worldwide.
Though there is still uncertainty whether campuses will open in the fall due to the pandemic, the students are making preparations and holding on to hope.
Cona plans to attend The New School of Art and Design in New York City.
“I will be going there to study photography and art as it has always been a part of me," he says. "I visited the university in 2017 and fell in love with the school as it covers essentially every aspect of art.”
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.
About the author
Ariel Thompson is a content manager at Dart, having joined the company in 2017. A lifelong writer, Ariel was born and raised in the Cayman Islands before studying abroad at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, for her degree in public relations and film and television. With eight years of experience in communications, Ariel joined Dart after working as Cayman International School’s first marketing communications officer. As her name would suggest, Ariel is a Disney fan and has a singing voice to rival The Little Mermaid’s. She loves to conceptualise TV and movie scripts and hopes one day to be a director. When in Camana Bay, Ariel can be found enjoying Mizu Asian Bistro + Bar’s Pad Thai, or shopping with friends and a scoop of gelato in hand.