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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Q & A | Inspiring Young Adults 2020

Q & A | Inspiring Young Adults 2020

Charlie Thomas

Charlie is a Year 10 pupil at CPHS. He volunteers with the YMCA and has represented Cayman in rugby and touch rugby.

When did you first become involved with the YMCA?
Five years ago; my parents were founding members of YMCA Cayman and they encouraged me to join. I started as a Camper and at 13 I became a Counsellor-in-Training.

What do you enjoy about volunteering there?
The people are so welcoming and encouraging; you immediately feel part of the YMCA family.

What do you think are the biggest issues or concerns facing teenagers in Cayman these days?
The issues facing teenagers in Cayman today are no different to the issues facing teenagers all around the world: drugs, alcohol, bullying and other things.

If you were asked to volunteer with children in an underdeveloped country where would you choose?
I would choose to go to the East Meru Community School in Africa. This is a school I’m familiar with because my own school helps raise badly needed funds for this institution and I would love to see it for myself.

Do you think being active and participating in sports is an important part of adolescence?
Yes, because sport helps to teach discipline, teamwork and the important lesson that you can’t always win.

What do you think your biggest successes have been so far?
I am very proud to have had the opportunity to represent Cayman in Rugby and Touch Rugby. Being selected for the team, when there are so many other talented teenagers that could have been chosen in my place, is an honour.

Who has been your greatest supporter?
My father. He has always been there for me and always helped me at my worst moments.

Dequan Smith

Dequan (16) won the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year in 2019 and will soon start at Wells Cathedral School.

When did you first become interested in music?
When I was around seven years old. I started playing the cello three years ago.

If you could play as part of any famous orchestra in the world which one would it be and why?
Either the Philadelphia Orchestra or the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). I have seen the former live and they have a fabulous cello section, whose Principal I have met during a master class. The prestige and fame of the LSO is very attractive, the sound is gorgeous and they look like they have a lot of fun!

What are your thoughts about joining Wells Cathedral School this year?
I believe that this will be the experience of a lifetime and will be so much fun and stuffed with opportunities.

What advice would you give other children on-Island who want to be the Young Musician of 2020 or beyond?
You need to show who you truly are and that you are deadly serious on conveying the message of the composer.

Which musicians would you choose to play with?
Itzhak Perlman, who is a phenomenally talented musician. As a polio survivor, he shows us that determination and passion can bring about great things. Elizabeth Pitcairn; she is a meticulous player and a great communicator, and Richard de Lacy who was my godfather and a great violist.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
As a travelling soloist, chamber musician and teacher.

Who has been your greatest supporter and inspiration?
My mother is the greatest supporter. She is absolutely amazing and so selfless − she doesn’t get enough attention for all the great things she does.

Noah Whittaker

Noah is a Year 13 student at CPHS. He is going to study music production and recording arts at Elon University.

When did you first become interested in music and drama?
From the moment I was able to sit at the piano I’ve been immersed in the arts. In Year 10 I had my first experience with theatre, with my current drama teacher, Katie Cummins. She is the greatest teacher and inspired me to continue in musical theatre.

If you could play the lead in any production, which one would it be?
I love playing characters who bring comic relief to the scenes, for example: Genie from Aladdin or Damien from Mean Girls. But if I had to play a lead I would choose Evan from Dear Evan Hansen. His personality is very similar to mine and the songs are extremely meaningful and emotive.

If you were asked to teach drama to children in an underdeveloped country where would you choose?
Haiti. I’ve always wanted to travel there to gain a proper experience of how Haitian people live and to have the opportunity to share my passion for the performing arts with other people.


Who is your favourite musician and why?
Tori Kelly. She’s an inspiration to me as she creates all her own music and produces it herself. She’s been performing since she was 12 years old and has only grown and progressed since then.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I hope to be performing and producing my own music, or possibly working with my drama class creating our own theatre company.

Who has been your greatest supporter?
My best friends Alisalee and Asia. They’ve been with me since primary school and have always supported my musical aspirations.

Rachel Pascal

Rachel (14) is a student at Cayman Academy who recently won a bronze medal for Javelin at the CARIFTA Games.

How old were you when you started throwing javelin?
I started throwing Javelin at the age of 8.

Who encouraged you to start throwing javelin?
My dad and my big brother encouraged me to throw the javelin as I had a strong arm when I played baseball.

Which athlete do you most admire and why?
My big brother. He’s taught me the value of perseverance and hard work. He travelled all over the world through sports, won a sports scholarship and got a good job.

What is your greatest achievement to date?
Winning a bronze medal at the World Karate Championships in 2015 and in 2019 when I won a bronze medal at my first CARIFTA Games.

What advice would you offer a young Caymanian interested in starting a sport?
My advice is if you can dream it you can do it. You just have to be ready and hungry for it and never give up.

Was there ever a point where you considered quitting or became disinterested in javelin?
Yes, but my family and teachers have always encouraged me to hang in there.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt through training?
No pain, no gain!

What skills did you develop through your sport that have helped you in every-day life?
You have to be persistent and determined to make your dreams come true and train twice as hard as your competitors in order to be on top.

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