When Cayman Parent launched its first ever Story Writing Competition in 2023, we were not prepared for the enormous amount of interest. We received hundreds and hundreds of beautifully written stories from schools across the Cayman Islands. Being inspired by nature, these stories are an overwhelmingly clear indication that Cayman’s youth have an intense motivation to help protect not only Cayman’s natural environment, but the entire planet.
Competition Writing Topic
All students in Cayman aged 6-14 years old were invited to submit a story that would inspire readers to explore the great outdoors and help protect the world we live in. With more young people engaged in the environment than ever before, the competition gave students the opportunity to express what nature means to them.
Children could enter their stories in one of three age categories, with the chance of winning some incredible prizes. These included: Camana Bay, Next Chapter and Kirk Office gift vouchers; family and class passes to some of Cayman’s best attractions, including the Cayman Crystal Caves, Cayman Parrot Sanctuary, Cayman Turtle Centre and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, plus a Mangrove Boat Tour from Sea Elements.
To ensure impartiality, three independent judges were selected from the fields of literacy and the environment to judge the competition. With so many original and inspiring submissions from children across all three Islands to read, the judges had the most difficult task in picking just three winners and three runners up. Read on to hear their reaction to the wonderful stories!
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who took part!
Erica Dell'Oglio, Executive Director at Literacy Is For Everyone (LIFE). "Cayman’s future looks bright with so many young creative students writing entertaining stories, sharing a passion, and inspiring others to protect our precious natural environment." Judge of the 6-8 years old category.
Erin Connelly, Author of 'Pedro and the Treasure Map' and 'Georgie and the Stingray City'. "I was so impressed with how descriptive and creative the storylines were for this age group. All of the children did an amazing job in bringing their characters and concepts to life while incorporating the important topic of the environment. Well done and I hope you all keep on writing!" Judge of the 9-11 years old category.
Katie Ebanks, Education Manager at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). "These student short stories were so hopeful and lovely, I sincerely wish that ALL of them remember what they have written in the later years of their lives... I think it will be extremely important not only to our local community here in Cayman, but also to the planet." Judge of the 12-14 years old age category.
Winners & Runners Up Entries
After much agonising, the judges picked the following winners and runners up. You will find the winners' incredible stories published on the next few pages. The winners' stories have also been published on the Cayman Parent website, along with those by the runners up.
Winner Age 6-8 Category: Ava Robinson, age 6. Student at Cayman International School
Polar Bears in Cayman
What do you think would happen if a polar bear came to Cayman? Perry the polar bear got on an airplane with her two cubs Jerry and Betty. Their family waved goodbye.
When they landed in Cayman, Perry said, “Woah this place looks pretty fancy!” They put on their bathing suits and went swimming on Seven Mile Beach. Perry, Jerry, and Berry swam around the whole island because polar bears can swim over 60 miles at a time. They were hungry but could not find any seals or walruses so they ate lionfish, tarpon, and turtles. Jerry and Berry were curious cubs. They climbed a tree, chased hermit crabs, rolled in the sand, and sunbathed. Polar bears usually sleep in snow dens so they dug a hole in the sand instead.
They came to Cayman because people are making the Arctic hot and the ice is melting. This is also why the tide is coming up in Cayman. Perry, Jerry, and Berry liked it here but it was too hot. They had to swim in the sea or a pool every day and they missed their family. The Arctic was saved and the polar bears lived happily ever after.
Runner Up Age 6-8 Category: Matthew Moore, age 8. Student at Edna Moyle School
Captain Cappy - The Cayman Islands Amazon Parrot Protector of the Great Outdoors
In the East of Grand Cayman, lives a parrot called Captain Cappy. He’s the Grand Cayman Parrot, who checks for the danger of the beautiful Cayman Amazona parrots. His feathers are green, blue, yellow, and red and his forehead is white and pink. Captain Cappy awakes every morning to run his parrot headquarters at the Cayman Parrot Sanctuary. His cousin Polly runs a parrot lookout tower in Cayman Brac. She reports all the dangers there.
One day, Cappy notices builders in George Town cutting trees and destroying the parrot’s habitat. The town was hot. This made Cappy upset. Immediately, Captain Cappy calls Polly and his other Amazona agents for help – Mr. Bahama Parrot and Miss Cuban Amazon. They plan a mission to scatter seeds all over the town to grow trees. The next day all the parrots took off for the mission.
Three months later, small trees were growing. The air was cool. The people in George Town called a town hall meeting to thank Cappy and his rescue team. They promised to help plant more trees. This made Cappy happy.
Captain Cappy is on his next mission to teach people how to care for parrots of the great outdoors.
Winner Age 9-11 Category: Jayne Brandson, age 11. Student at Montessori By The Sea
I woke to the cool moonlight shining down onto my silver leaves. An agouti scrambled through fallen leaves; its bright orange pelt bold against the black shadows of the night. The back door swung open, and a human came out. Today was finally the day, the day where I would become something more than just a palm tree. As the man came towards me, I lifted my leaves towards the moon ready for my adventure. If only I'd have known what adventures I would have.
8 years later
My story is, after getting harvested, I became a rope tied to a friendly anchor named Crystal and was put to work on a crew ship. By day I saw the jaw-dropping beauty of Cayman: pristine sands, gorgeous plants and flowers, and most of all- the kind and friendly humans and creatures. At night, Crystal and I went down into the glittering waters around Grand Cayman. In the turquoise depths, we saw rainbow-coloured coral and the rainbow-coloured fish that lived inside it. We became friends with a female reef shark called Salt that followed the fish that hid in our ships shadow. Salt meant no harm, well, to US, not so much the fish. Crystal, Salt and I stayed together for many years, but as time passed Salt felt the water become too warm to live in anymore. We never saw her again, but we know she found a better place to live in.
One day, I was detached from Crystal, and we got sent away in a truck to a place called a ‘museum’. The rope that replaced me was death-white and reeked of chemicals and rubber. Something had changed in the world. Something I cannot put into words.
But Crystal and I have lived out our days in glory, basking in the sunlight, looking down on our admirers from high on the wall. That’s where you’ll find us to this day, in The Cayman Islands National History Museum.
Runner Up Age 9-11 Category: Alaia Whittaker- Teunissen, age 10. Student at Village Montessori
Feathers of Flight
The day it all went wrong was like any other. The morning sun showered our tree hollow nest with light. I am the first one awake. Suddenly I hear a loud noise. I've heard the sound before but further away. Mother squawks danger calls to us. But there is only a woosh.
I awake behind bars. Other birds of a feather call and shout for freedom, but no one listens. I sit on my perch for many nights, as lonely as a fish swimming in the vast sea. One day people come. They come and stare at us and walk away. I was lonely once more. Quite some time had passed and the hopeful squawks had fallen silent. My friend, Sea, had been taken away. He was the only company I had in a long time. The wind blew wild against sour metal cages. A click, a bang, a woosh, a swipe and the door blew open.
I shout out with glee and bolt out. I run under a tree to wait out the storm. During that time, I think, mother and father flew and soared through the treetops… Somehow. The sky turns golden-orange with a hint of blue and purple. Now I want to fly! I run to a tree stump and open my wings high, I leap, I flap, and I glide, I fly!
My emerald green feathers feel the wind and dry them. My blue, red and green wings cut through the air like a shell through water. The world looks small and the sun lights a path. A path to what I truly am. A Cayman Parrot, wild and free.
Winner Age 12-14 Category: The last Tree by Kelwin Scott. Student at Layman E. Scott Sr. High School
In a world where concrete towers stretched towards the sky and artificial light drowned out the stars, the last tree stood alone. It was a towering Black Mastic; its gnarled roots gripped the soil as if it refused to let go of the Earth itself. It stood defiantly amidst the sea of glass and steel, a beacon of life in a world consumed by progress. The tree was a remnant of a bygone era, a time when the Earth was lush and green. But as humanity's thirst for progress grew, the forests were cut down, the rivers polluted and the air thick with smog. The tree stood as a silent witness to the destruction of the world around it.
But the tree was not alone. There were those who recognised the value of the environment and the importance of preserving it. They were few, but their passion burned bright. They fought tirelessly against the forces of greed and ignorance, planting trees, cleaning up rivers, and advocating for change. As the years went by, the tree became a symbol of hope, a rallying point for those who still believed in the power of nature. It became a pilgrimage site, a place where people would come to be inspired, to connect with something greater than themselves.
And then, one day, the tree began to wither. Its leaves turned brown, its branches grew brittle and the once proud Black Mastic began to sag. The people who had come to love and cherish the tree were devastated. They did everything they could to save it, but it was too late. The tree had borne witness to too much destruction and it could no longer bear the weight of humanity's indifference. But even in death, the tree remained a symbol of hope. Its legacy inspired a new generation of activists who continued to fight for the environment and the preservation of the planet.
And so, as the last tree fell, a new movement was born. Depressing thoughts of “It’s too late” were replaced with “Small acts add up to big change!” A movement that recognised the value of the environment and the importance of preserving it for future generations. A movement that promised to do better, to be better and to build a world where the last tree would never have to stand alone.
Runner Up Age 12-14 Category: Liam Wight, age 12. Student at Montessori By The Sea
Move To Mangroves
As a spotted eagle ray, I had never really heard of mangroves. Living in the coral reef, far away from the mainland, mangroves were never really talked about. Until right now. The reef was buzzing with rumors about the tiger sharks coming to live in North Sound, and as a family of spotted eagle rays, this was not good.
We started our journey to Prospect Beach, where mangroves could keep us protected. We swam past Stingray City, where boats were tossing squid in the water for the stingrays, and later exploring the Kittiwake, and swimming past the beautiful Seven Mile Beach. When we finally arrived at Prospect Beach, the mangroves were daunting. It looked like they were going to swallow me up and eat me. I cautiously entered, making sure to avoid touching any of them. I settled in a clearing between the mangroves and closed my eyes after a long day of swimming.
The next morning, the sun was shining between the gaps in the mangroves, and I found myself curled up right up against the mangroves! The stalks weren't slimy or clammy like I thought. They were smooth, and cool. I said to myself, “Maybe mangroves won't be so bad after all.” I found a note pinned to one stalk. The note said, “Me and Dad gone hunting. Feel free to explore the area, but don’t go too far. Love you and have fun.”
I decided to go exploring further down the beach. I glided out of the mangroves and across the sand, just in front of Montessori by the Sea. The children were running around and having fun near the sand. I ventured a little further down the beach and found my way to Spotts Beach. I was admiring a shell I had found on the ground when suddenly I heard a splash in the water. Three nurse sharks were swimming right at me! I flew across the shallow water away from Spotts Beach with the three sharks on my tail, past Montessori by the Sea, and into my little patch of mangroves. I sunk down into the water and waited, as the sharks flew past the mangroves and away from me. I relaxed, as the mangroves comforted me. They protect our beautiful island from storms, and gigantic waves, protect boats from strong winds or rough sea and protect fish big or little just like me.