A SHORT HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL
In 1908, according to oral report given by Mrs. Cicely Pierson, the first Seventh-day Adventist Church School was established in the district of East End on the beautiful island of Grand Cayman. This account would have the school evolving in four phrases.
The second phase according to the report of Mr. Lee Gouldbourne was in 1944, when Miss Gleeda Forbes, a church member, opened her home to seven students. By the end of 1945 the enrollment had increased to 40 students. By 1948, the school had experienced such phenomenal growth that enrollment was approximately 180 students. During the early 1950’s to the early 1980’s the school changed location many times.
The third phase of the school’s history occurred during the late 1950’s, when the school administration changed hands from the American to Jamaican leadership. Under the management of the West Indies Union leaders such as the Newmans, particularly Garfield and Cyril made significant contributions to the school’s development. Reasons unknown, led to the development of Miss Forbes leaving the school to establish her own. The main school had to be closed for a while for restructuring and reorganization of both the academic and physical structure.
The final phase of the school’s history commenced, in the 1960’s. In 1967 the name was changed to Edmer in honour of Miss Clara Eden, Ed. for Eden, a midwife, and Mr. George Merren, Mer. for Merren, a local elder. It was during the 1960’s that Pastor A. Lyle with the aid of some church members erected a new building on the site where the thatched hut stood. It was during this period that the torch of Adventist Education was re-lit giving the school new meaning, purpose and significance to the Caymanian society. Championing this effort was Mrs. Peace, who took the helm to guide the school’s development into a successful path before passing it on to the following Principals: Pastor Carl Henry, Mr. Rolston Rose, Mr. Herbert Shand, Pastor L. V. McMillan, Mr. Vernon Cato, Mrs. Donnalee Tatum, and back again to Mr. Rolston Rose in the early eighties, Mrs. Lynn Smith, succeeded by Pastor Kenneth Adderly and then Mr. George Coke. In 1988 Mrs. Carla Sue McLaughlin, a native of Grand Cayman succeeded Mr. Coke as Principal. Under her leadership, an active Parent/Teachers Association along with an active Alumni Association were organized. The school was expanded with a new wing costing over $70,000, built to house the Kindergarten division, bathrooms and canteen.
The school experienced another change in leadership, when in 1994 Mr. Weeward Hurlston took over the reign of principal. He gave four years of faithful service until he retired in 1998. It was the young energetic Mr. Michael Cobb who was to be the next principal. His stay was very short, lasting from 1998-1999, as he moved on to Northern Caribbean University. His major contribution to the development of the school was the establishment of the Gleeda Forbes Computer Lab. It was at such a time as this that Mrs. Cereta McDonald was called to take up the mantle of managing the school. She served as Acting Principal from 1999 to 2000.
At the beginning of the 2000-2001 school year Mr. Daniel Morgan of Jamaica, who served Brandon Hill Primary and Junior High School, for 18 years became the new principal. He served the school for three years during which time the student enrolment increased from 80 students to 120, with five full time teachers, assisted by three teachers’ aide. A part-time secretary and music teacher completed the staff complement. He was instrumental in establishing a music program with the help of the George Town Church and a successful fundraising effort. The sleeping Alumni Association was revived under his tenure. Also, the re-roofing of the building and the installation of proper outdoor lighting fixtures was completed. During this period the P.T.A. gave the school a face lift, and a Prefect Body was also established. At the end of the 2002-2003 School Year, Mr. Morgan, went on a one year Sabbatical and did not return. Mr. Darell Randal succeeded Mr. Morgan and served for two terms, being ably assisted by Mrs. Chamayrane Williams, the School Secretary.
On April 19, 2004, Mr. Lambert Forrest took up position of Principal and immediately set to work to reshape the structure and function of Cayman Academy, formerly Edmer School. The Mission and Vision Statements were reformulated to provide a sense of direction for the task ahead. Over the next four years Mr. Forrest was to preside over a number of changes. Some of these were: one teacher to one class with some having a teacher’s aide, the Pre-Kindergarten was relocated from a container to the wing building, the main building was renovated to create individual classrooms, the Computer and Science Labs were established and a Music Department organized as a self-sustaining entity of the school, with over thirty students. New playground equipment was obtained for the Kindergarten Division. It was also during this period that the High School was re-established, the grounds paved and green areas were added to complement the compound. The wing was remodelled to house the Kindergarten and Primary Divisions, a state of the art Canteen, a Sick Bay, additional bathrooms, and a Staff Lounge. The school enrollment rose from 117 to over 260 while the staff complement moved from nine to twenty-five, including the office staff. In 2007-2008 Cayman Academy solidified its place among high schools in the Cayman Islands by gaining second place in the Sagicor Knowledge Bowl Quiz Competition. The school also had its first taste of the C.X.C examination success, with some of our students gaining passes in English and Mathematics.
In 2009, Mrs. Nelda Rose Dracket accepted the position of Acting Principal, eventually serving as Principal until August 2012. During her tenure, she further enhanced the development of the Academy by finalising the process and printing of the student’s handbook, the creation and implementation of documentation for the reporting and monitoring of discipline within the school; the modification of procedures for the teacher appraisal, the evaluation of teaching and learning in the classrooms and the upgrading of the lesson plans. She also spearheaded the development of several policies for the smooth operation and management of the school. Under her leadership, the Academy continued to make strides, realizing gradual increased performances in the CXC examination results, especially in the area of Mathematics; participated in various sporting activities such as the inter-primary and inter-secondary athletics meets, private school football championship, basketball, volleyball, football and swimming. Additional participation in NCFA, KPMG Brain Bowl, Spelling Bee, and the Debating competition allowed the Academy to showcase the various talents of the students in these events. The 2011-2012 Academic Year ended on a high note with the Academy taking home the Debating trophy for the first time.
Our current principal Dr. O’Neil Duncan joined the staff September 2015. So far he has made an indellible mark on the school. Cayman Academy’s enrolment increased from 274 the previous school year to 328 in the school year 2015-2016 and is maintained each year until now. Currently our enrolment for the 2018-2019 school year is 335. In his few short years we have seen many changes – a new website, a new state of the art school playfied and track and a significant beautification program giving Cayman Academy a fresh look. In the area of curriculum, the school has bolstered its music program and introduced the CPEA (Primary), CCSLC (Lower secondary) and CAPE (A Level) programs. The school has also introduced standardized testing for its students at the end of each key stage. In the most recent Carribean Advanced Profieciency exams, Cayman Academy boasts a 100% pass rate. The school has since added new staff particularly geared at improving student services and safety. They now have a Guidance Counselor, School Chaplain and a School Nurse. We pray for God’s continued leading and direction as we continue to strive for excellence. The school has recently been rated ‘Good’ school by the Office of Education Standards in the Cayman Islands.