JGHS principal sees huge athletic potential for his students

JGHS students and teachers celebrate with Sports Minister Juliana O'Connor-Connolly and Councillor Barbara Conolly.

The principal of John Gray High School said based on performances by many of his students on the winning team at the 2018 Inter-Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships, they have what it takes to gain athletic scholarships overseas.

After two days of competition featuring government and private schools from across the Cayman Islands at Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 1-2 March, JGHS finished first among the large schools with 531.5 points, with Clifton Hunter High School second with 362.5 points, and St Ignatius Catholic School third with 51 points.

Cayman Academy was the small schools overall champion with 131 points, ahead of Triple C High School (98.5 points) and Layman E. Scott High School (92 points).

Moments after his school was presented with the winning trophy by Education, Youth and Sports Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Councillor Barbara Conolly, the JGHS principal spoke to CaymanSportsBuzz.com about his students’ achievements.

“I’m really pleased with the students, the way they acted, the support we got and the effort they put in. We started with an assembly this morning. We talked about how much effort you put in and what you get out of things,” Jon Clark said.

“It’s all about hard work and applying yourself. I said to them this morning that many of them want success but they’re not prepared to work for it…track’s an easy way to see that. Yes, you get some people with a bit of talent but the majority of it is the hours and hours of training for the people who are champions and who did really, really well,” Clark added.

He said it’s now about taking this kind of effort and applying it to the classroom “because many of these should be on NCAA scholarships in the future. If they do things right, and these kids get their English and Math grades and they graduate…they’ve got a great opportunity in Cayman to get out and use things like track and field to get a decent degree and come back and get good jobs.”

In all, 11 government and private schools participated in the meet hosted by the Department of Sports. With students who were not competing able to attend the atmosphere was, at times electric, as those in the stands cheered enthusiastically for their peers. A big highlight for the students was a cheer-leading competition featuring squads from Clifton Hunter High School and John Gray High School.

The meet also featured athletes destined for the Flow CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas from 30 March to 2 April. Minister O’Connor-Connolly also admonished the young people in attendance to keep pursuing that dream, especially with the Cayman Islands hosting the games next year.

“Go home, start training and prepare. We have CARIFTA 2019 here at this venue next year and I want to see some gold, silver and bronze [medals] and this stadium filled with supporters for our athletes,” the minister said.

Among athletes from large schools, Renia Smith of Clifton Hunter High School was the overall outstanding female, while John Gray High School’s Devonte Howell was the overall outstanding male.

Cayman Academy students swept the overall outstanding female and male spots for small schools with Danielle Bailey and Malik Copeland taking home the awards.

Division Champions

12 and Under Girls: 26 points – Renadra Powell, Clifton Hunter High School

12 and Under Boys: 30 points – Devonte Howell, John Gray High School


14 and Under Girls: 30 points – Renia Smith, Clifton Hunter High School

14 and Under Boys: 25 points – Elder Ebanks – John Gray High School


16 and under Girls: 26 points (tie) -Jaden Francis, Cayman Prep High School and Ashantae Graham, John Gray High School

16 and Under Boys: 20 points – Leroy Malcolm Jr., UCCI/ Dual Enrollment


18 and Under Girls: 26 points – Danieka Lyn, Clifton Hunter High School

18 and Under Boys: 18 points – Gary Rankine, Clifton Hunter High School


18 + Girls: 26 points: Claudina Morgan, CI Further Education Centre

18+ Boys: 26 points: Malik Copeland, Cayman Academy

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