Caymans

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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

High School Reunion – Celebrating 50 years – 1969 - 2019

High School Reunion – Celebrating 50 years – 1969 - 2019

On the weekend of October 4th -6th the Class of ’69 or the `69ers as they refer to themselves, celebrated a weekend – long class Reunion – 50 Years.
They gathered together to remember “the way we were” What a milestone. It all started with a Sunset Social at the Westin, a formal dinner at the Grand Old House on Saturday night and ending with Church on Sunday at Elmslie Memorial and from where their Graduation was held 50 years ago.

They were the first class to receive free education after completing the Common Entrance exam in 1964. They were situated behind the George Town Library for their years in Forms 1 and 2 in the buildings that were formerly the U. S. Navy barracks in WW2.

What a gift to have been part of this amazing group at Cayman Islands High School! They studied hard, laughed a lot, and enjoyed the last few years of when Cayman was truly “The Islands That Time Forgot”.

On starting Form 3, They moved to the campus on Walkers Road known as the John Gray High School named after the principal, Rev John Gray.

Some of their local teachers were Mary Bowerman nee Hurston, Gracie Wright nee Ebanks, Nelly Hurst nee Panton and Christine Bodden.

Despite teachers who were mostly VSOs (Voluntary Service Overseas) from the UK and just a bit older than themselves, they did very well academically. They were taught without all the bells and whistles of today’s students – blackboard and chalk, no AC and limited other resources and some classes were even held under the trees. They excelled and made the most of what they had and valued the privilege of being awarded free education.

From this class there many pioneers: first female lawyer, first nurse practitioner, first physiotherapist, Surgeon and first Clinical Professor of Surgery, Lamaze childbirth educator, doula and lactation consultant, first qualified pharmacist, first civil engineer, first electrical Engineer first to rise to the position of deputy governor, politicians, musicians, realtors and developers, nurses and nurse educators, bankers, legal secretaries, architect, entrepreneurs, teacher, social service directors, many outstanding jobs in head government departments.

The class is a very closely knit one and meets once or twice a year for old time sake when they each donate money to the John Gray Scholarship Fund, which they founded in honour of their outstanding principal and education pioneer, Rev John Gray while he was yet alive. This fund was later given over to NCVO and the group contributed to it until it was taken over by a banking firm in recent years.

So, as they ate, drank, danced, laughed, cried and asked how did all those years go by so fast. They were embraced by classmates they have known for over 50 years and some they have known for over 60 years, since primary school.

They told story after story, took photo after photo, gave hug after hug and they realized that they were still crazy after all these years.”

The things they are most crazy about are family, kids, grandkids, health, homes, gardens, pets, hobbies, trips, books, faith, love; i.e., the things that truly matter in life…and at last, perhaps: Peace. Joy. Wisdom. Contentment.

The class photo is on display at Pedro Castle.

As they celebrated they also fondly remembered those from their class that are no longer with us.
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