(CMR) Two new Proud of Them billboards that honor young people with exceptional achievements were recently erected in Cayman Brac.
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL) and the Youth Services Unit (YSU) carried out the billboards' historic unveiling at the Cayman Brac Playing Field last weekend.
The billboards represent the past and the present eras of the Proud of Them honorees program and feature 2021 honoree Christon Ferguson and 2019 honoree Allison Flores-Hernandez.
In his welcome remarks at the unveiling ceremony, MEYSAL Deputy Chief Officer Joel Francis thanked the Cayman Brac authorities and the public for their role in recognizing the youth and also encouraged continued public support for the program.
“We thank the authorities in Cayman Brac for permitting us to install these billboards here and to amplify the song of our young people even more. We also thank the community for their support and ask it to continue to play its role in the program by submitting strong nominations with supporting evidence of our young people’s achievements so that we can continue to encourage and highlight them to always reach higher,” declared Francis.
Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly described the billboards' unveiling as a happy and historic occasion.
“Today, we have the opportunity to herald and acknowledge two of our bright young people in Cayman Brac. Although Cayman Brac has many bright young people, these two have had exceptional achievements. Being that these are the first Proud of Them billboards in Cayman Brac history will certainly record it in a positive light that your hard work and dedication paid off,” O’Connor-Connolly said.
Acting Head of the YSU, James Myles, expressed his gratitude to all those who were instrumental in the event’s success and looked ahead to the many possibilities for the Proud of Them program's future.
2021 Proud of Them honoree Christon Ferguson was seemingly filled with mixed emotions at the unveiling of the billboards.
“The unveiling of the billboard was an exciting moment for me. I feel truly honored as we don’t usually see billboards in Cayman Brac. At first, I thought it would go up in Grand Cayman, but when I realized it would be erected here, I was nervous knowing I’d be on one of the first billboards. I am also inspired to know that other young people in my community will now look up to me as a role model and will be motivated to work hard so they can be featured on that billboard as well,” Christon stated.
Allison Flores-Hernandez, a 2019 honoree, expressed gratitude that her billboard, which was once displayed in Grand Cayman, was now in her community.
“I am truly grateful for the continuous support offered by MEYSAL, and I’m really proud to have my billboard on display at home! I’d like to encourage other young ‘brackas’ to fill the entire sports complex with billboards. If you believe in yourself and work hard, you can achieve anything,” Allison said.
Before the unveiling ceremony, the YSU also hosted a special morning assembly at Layman Scott Senior High School, where 2021 honoree Christon Ferguson is a student. Students received words of encouragement from Minister O’Connor-Connolly and Joel Francis and had the opportunity to view the 2021 Proud of Them honoree videos.
Addressing the students, O’Connor-Connolly expressed optimism that the billboards would motivate them to excel.
“From now on, every time that you as young people visit the football field, you will be reminded of your peers. It will motivate you to work hard to ensure that you too will make it on to a billboard as a symbol not only that you have succeeded but that you have excelled,” Minister O’Connor-Connolly remarked.
Another two billboards that feature past Proud of Them honorees will be relocated to Cayman Brac in the coming months.