To get some insight into the minds of Cayman’s inspiring teens, we asked four of them to explain how their hobbies and passions have positively shaped their lives so far.
Charlotte Webster is currently studying Environmental Studies at the University of Exeter, UK and recently qualified to represent Cayman in the 2023 Pan American Games. Her ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympics.
Why are you so passionate about your sport?
Sailing is an integral part of my upbringing and family history. My parents met each other while racing against one another in sailing, and I have fond memories of attending sailing camps during every break and growing up on the water. Sailing is deeply ingrained in my identity and runs through my veins.
Which coach or athlete do you look up to as a role model and why?
I met Mathilda Nichols at the British Nationals in Hayling Island, UK. She is also an Exeter student and has been an incredible inspiration to me. Her ability to excel both academically and athletically is truly impressive. She has shown me that it is possible to pursue excellence in multiple areas of life and serves as a role model for achieving success both on and off the water.
Where is the most exciting place you’ve travelled to compete and why?
Oman for the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships. With its rich culture, stunning landscapes and challenging sailing conditions, it was unique and captivating experience. The venue itself was remarkable, featuring picturesque coastlines, clear waters and very light wind conditions that made racing extremely tight.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of sports?
I am a member of Protect our Future in Grand Cayman and am passionate about the environment, specifically the diverse ecosystems in the Cayman Islands. I have worked with the National Trust to help raise awareness and protect our natural world. I am a keen traveller and I love being able to immerse myself in different cultures. In my free time, when I’m home, my favourite thing to do is take my dog for a beach walk and watch the sunset on the beach with a good book.
Micah Leon was one of six girls from across the globe chosen to be part of a recent World Rugby campaign and documentary, “Youth Unstoppables 2022 – Women in Rugby”. She was also chosen to represent Cayman in the RAN 7s 2022 tournament in Mexico City.
Who has inspired you the most during your sporting career?
The England women’s rugby player, Abby Dow. She broke her leg in a match against Wales in 2022 but against all the odds she came back and scored an incredible try against New Zealand just five months later. The Levi twins, who play for the Australian women’s rugby team are also inspirational. Their teamwork on the pitch is incredible. Maddison Levi broke the record for top try scorer at the recent HSBC World Rugby 7s.
Which coach or athlete do you look up to as a role model and why?
I’ve had quite a few coaches and I especially admire my rugby coach, Mercedes Foy, and my gymnastics coach, Miriam Schwabe. They both have a zeal for the sport and always push me to the best of my abilities. Mercedes is always on the sideline, telling me to leave it all on the pitch and Miriam is always reminding me that I can do this even when I’m down and apprehensive.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Having completed a medical degree in the UK and on the path to becoming a Paediatrician, along with playing for a local rugby club while I’m there!
How would you promote women’s rugby to a potential team sponsor?
I would emphasise the benefits of the sport such as respect, teamwork, communication, confidence building and the positive impact that sponsorship can have on the lives of young women and girls.
Sierrah Broadbelt won an unprecedented number of individual gold medals at the Carifta Swimming Championships 2023, making her the most successful female gold medal winner in the history of the Cayman Islands.
Who has inspired you the most during your swimming career?
I can remember the day that Team Cayman returned from the 2018 Carifta championships, I knew right away that I wanted to be just like them and make my country proud with all those shiny medals dangling from my neck. I can still remember how Jillian Crooks allowed me to wear her medals, it was such an honour. Jillian's actions encouraged me to continue working hard, so that one day I would have the opportunity to represent Cayman as well. To this day, Jillian and I are the closest of friends and I love chasing her down in the pool.
How did it feel to qualify and take part in the Commonwealth Games?
As a 13 year old, taking part in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games was a huge deal for me – a valuable and motivating experience. I feel so privileged to have been given that opportunity.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
With an Olympic medal from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
How do you stay focused when your friends are going out socialising and you have training or a swim meet?
I stay focused and disciplined during those times because I know that I must do so to fulfill my dreams. I just remind myself that it’ll all be worth it, and I will have lots of time for socialising after I win my Olympic medal!
What has been the best and hardest thing about being so dedicated to your sport?
The best thing is the improvement and development of my skills along with the results, records and medals I have achieved so far. The hardest part is having to wake up at 4.45am, train for two hours, and follow that up with a full day of school and exams.
Scarlett Akiwumi is Head Girl at Cayman Prep & High School and is studying A Level Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and English Literature. In Year 11 she was awarded the EY Top Academic Achiever and Outstanding Student Award.
You achieved a superb set of IGCSE results in. Can you offer any tips or advice on exam revision?
The best advice I could give is to find a way in which you revise most effectively; efficient revision styles are very personal. This can be achieved by finding out what your peers do or even watching YouTube videos on different revision methods. I like to make booklets for each subject, categorising these booklets into the topics of that particular subject. Then I use my exercise books, textbooks, online resources and most importantly, the syllabus to fill these booklets with both succinct and accurate information. After I’ve done this, I learn the information, down to the gritty details, and then complete a lot of past papers to practise the application of my knowledge.
You are involved with Protect Our Future. What does this group aim to achieve?
We meet weekly to discuss and act on ways to tackle environmental problems affecting both our school and our island. We come up with ideas to involve students in doing their part in decreasing their negative environmental impact.
Do you feel it is important for teenagers to have a part-time job or voluntary role from an early age?
Yes, especially a voluntary job as I think it is important for people to give back to the community . Through volunteering, one can develop very useful skills like organisation, empathy and problem-solving. In my experience with volunteering, I’ve learned invaluable skills that I continue to use in both my professional and personal life.
Who has inspired you the most during your life?
My parents; whether it be in my academics or my life in general, they have provided me with an incredible source of motivation. They have taken quite different paths in life, which I believe has greatly helped me in becoming my own person as I think I have found well-rounded sources of inspiration in both of my parents.