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.

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Lewis Bromby

Lewis Bromby, 16, is a student at John Gray High School. He plays the saxophone and recently came runner-up in the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year 2022.

Why are you so passionate about playing the saxophone?

The saxophone is such a beautiful instrument to me, with an unmatched range. It doesn’t sound out of place playing classical music nor jazz and I don’t think any other instrument rivals it in that regard. The baritone sax in particular is really fun to play as you can play some big heavy bass notes while also being able to dance around in the higher register.

How did it feel to be awarded runner-up in the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year competition?

I’m proud of myself since I didn’t expect to be competing this year let alone coming second. It was a fun competition for me as I had some really enjoyable pieces to play, and I loved listening to the other musicians. Hopefully I can enter next time and maybe win!

Which musician, singer or band would you love to perform live on stage with?

I’d have liked to play with Duke Ellington and his jazz orchestra. He’s one of my favourite jazz musicians and I love his music.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I don’t plan to make music my career, although I will continue to play. In 10 years I would like to have a Master’s degree or hopefully a PhD in aeronautics and to work at Airbus, BAE or Saab.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music? 

I really enjoy scuba diving. I’m into road cycling and I normally go out three times per week. I spend most of my time reading, playing games, or listening to music though.

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Okezie Eleweanya

Okezie Eleweanya, 16, is a student at UCCI. He is a member of the Cadet Corps, the UCCI jazz band, a mentor and tutor for the Department of Children and Family Services and has been nominated for the Proud of Them Awards 2022.

Why are you so passionate about empowering the youth of today?

When it comes to the youth of today, there is a simple sentence everyone should remember – the youth are our future. They are the ones who will continue to add onto the projects of the generations before them, and they are the ones who will innovate and make the world a better place. Therefore, it is important that we as a nation don’t limit the passion of the island's youth, but instead empower them to change the world around them.

How do you stay focussed on studies whilst committing time to the Cadet Corps and other voluntary roles in the community?

Time management, like any other skill, takes practice. The key to staying focused on school is simply knowing that at the end of the day, schoolwork is what takes you to your academic goals. Anything else is simply a boost, not a path. With this in mind, I’ve always made sure to prioritise my study time, and model my time with the Cadet Corps based on that time.

Do you feel it is important for teenagers to have a part time job or voluntary role from an early age?

The sooner a child realises that effort is what opens the door to their hopes and dreams, the better. It is crucial that today’s youth learn that success requires the departure from their comfort zone, so I believe that every child should have some experience involving volunteering or work of some kind. When you partake in work early on, it allows the identification of strengths to maintain and weaknesses to improve on. This way, one’s entrance into the professional world of work can be smoother and easier.

Sean Moran

Sean Moran

Sean Moran, 15, is a student at St Ignatius and plays the guitar. He recently became the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year 2022.

How did it feel to be awarded winner in the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year competition?

Unreal. My parents and siblings were super proud of me, and there were quite a few happy tears. It really was a special night.

Why are you so passionate about playing the guitar?

The classical guitar is a beautiful instrument. When I play it, it helps me express things that I can struggle to express with words. I also enjoy playing piano and wind instruments. Pretty much every instrument can be inspiring if you give it a chance.

What’s the best and hardest thing about being so dedicated to playing an instrument?

The best part is when an audience are enjoying listening to me play as much as I am enjoying playing for them. The most frustrating part is when I have trouble playing a more complex piece, because it reminds me of how much further I have to go.

How do you handle or control your nerves whilst performing or playing music in front of an audience?

When I have a performance coming up, I practice to the point where I’m confident I won’t mess up. That really helps to ease my nerves when I get onto a stage. But the nerves never go away, which is probably a good thing.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Hopefully I will be pursuing a music career, releasing songs and enjoying performing them in front of a live audience.

How do you stay focussed when you have to practice but your friends are going out socialising or staying out late?

It’s not that difficult. Some of my friends from St. Ignatius are also pretty good musicians, and we stay up late making music together.

Tashell Angelina

Tashell Dawson

Tashell Dawson, 16, is a student at Layman E. Scott High School on Cayman Brac. She is a former National Cook-Off champion, Student Council President and a Proud of Them 2022 honoree.

Who has inspired you the most in your life so far?

My mom has inspired me so much in life. She is such a hardworking woman. Despite countless obstacles thrown her way she continues to work against the odds to provide me, our family and friends with knowledge, love and support. Without her I would not be the individual I am today.

What is one important lesson you've learned from your time as student council president?

An important lesson I learnt is that you won’t always be able to please everyone and not everyone will see your vision but despite this you should continue to work towards your goals and making a difference. My time as president definitely contributed to the leadership skills I have today.

Who is your favourite chef and why?

My favourite Chef without the professional title would be my great grandmother known as Ms. Dell Dixon. At the age of 89 she is still up and ready to prepare lunch almost every day of the week. I admire her dedication to her craft and her ability to prepare various traditional meals and deserts without having to follow a written recipe. If you’re ever in the Brac do yourself a favor and try her cassava stretcher.

What does winning a Proud of Them Award mean to you?

Winning a Proud of Them award is one of my biggest achievements to date. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and it means so much to me. It is a great feeling to be recognised and congratulated for your hard work and continuous efforts to better yourself and your community. It has definitely pushed me to continue to work hard.

What are your hobbies and interests?

One of my favorite hobbies is reading. It is has become a great escape for me over the years, and it has expanded my knowledge enormously and has given me the opportunity to explore different aspects of life from the comfort of my home.