Dart names 2020 High School Scholars

Local students Erin Shaughness of Cayman International School (CIS) and Jaiden Gilbert of St. Ignatius High School have earned the prestigious title of Dart Scholar for their exceptional academic and extracurricular achievements.   

Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde welcomed them to the Dart Scholar family last week which also includes the recently announced William A. Dart Memorial University Scholar Jonathon Bedasse.

“The Dart Scholar High School Scholarship is merit-based and rewards exemplary academic performance with a focus in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).” says VanDevelde. “Only a fraction of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education – so it is encouraging that this year’s high school Dart Scholars are both young women. Congratulations Erin and Jaiden, I know you will both be excellent STEM ambassadors.”

Erin, a top performing student at CIS, has earned the CIS Gold Honour Roll for the past three years. Last summer, she completed a full-immersion, college-level mathematics course with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth on ‘Probability and Game Theory’ where she earned high honours. Outside of school, she enjoys programming using Scratch, an online tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help students learn computer programming, and digital art and animation. Erin is still determining her career ambitions but plans to maximise her exposure to STEM-related topics during high school to help guide her path to university.

Jaiden is an exceptional student at St. Ignatius who has excelled within the classroom and in her dedication to gymnastics where she regularly represents the Cayman Islands at international competitions. Earning the title ‘First All Around’ in both 2019 and 2020, she hopes to eventually compete in the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. She was also awarded the Silver Certificate in UK Maths Challenge in 2017 and plays the violin. An aspiring architect, Jaiden has chosen to study business studies to prepare for owning her own architecture firm one day.

Dart High School Scholars receive a four-year high school scholarship to the school of their choice, guided mentoring with Dart employees through the Minds Inspired Work-X programme and special enrichment experiences designed to expand their view outside the classroom. The most recent enrichment experience took scholars to University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom where they completed a week-long tech course on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and coding.

Each year, three finalists are recognised for their strong performance in the selection process. This year’s finalists were Anthony Catalanotto of Cayman Prep and High School, and Kai Hulse and Soleya Manzanares of St. Ignatius Catholic School.

The scholars are chosen through a blind-selection process designed to remove distinguishing details such as school, age, and gender to keep the identity of the applicants confidential from the selection panel made up of Dart executives and local industry leaders.

Dart first offered scholarships in 2012 as a part of its Minds Inspired education programme. As the Minds Inspired offerings expanded, the scholarships were re-branded in 2018 as Dart Scholar. The focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is rooted in Dart’s belief that these four disciplines are fundamental building blocks for both academic and career success. All Minds Inspired and Dart Scholar activities embody the Dart family’s approach to, and philosophy of, pursuing educational excellence in the STEM sciences.

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