Young Caymanian Leaders Foundation Announces 2014 Finalists

George Town, 5 September 2014 - The Young Caymanian Leaders Foundation today announces the names of the five finalists who have been selected to participate in this year's YCLA Award.

The ceremony and Awards dinner will be held on Saturday, November 1, at the Ritz Carlton, where the finalists will be recognised and the winner revealed.

Celebrating its 14th Anniversary this year, the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards programme was conceived to identify, celebrate and honour outstanding young people in the community who make a difference through their actions, behaviour and leadership, and who serve as role models for the youth of Cayman.

Nominations are sollicited each year from members of the public and are open to any Caymanian between the ages of 20 and 35. Any person can nominate another, including a family member, friend, or colleague. All candidates are subject to a rigourous screening and selection process by the YCLA nominations committee to narrow the field to the five young leaders who are the focus of the gala Awards ceremony.

This year's five finalists are:

Chevala LaWanda Burke, nee Tatum, 33, of Cayman Brac. Chevala holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tampa, Florida. She is currently pursuing her MBA with St. Leo's University. Chevala is employed by the Cayman Islands Government as Marketing and Promotions Manager in District Administration, representing both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman both regionally and internationally. She has served as a Cayman PRIDE trainer for Cayman Brac and is an Advisor with the Junior Achievement Unit based there. She is also Group leader for the Annual Vacation Bible Schools for Fellowship and Ebenezer Baptist Churches and is Assistant Secretary for the Sports Association of the Sister Islands. Chevala Burke - YCLA Cayman
Dr. Katrina Jurn is a graduate of John Gray High School; she was a recipient of the United World College Scholarship in 1999 and the Cayman Scholar Award in 2002.  She obtained her Doctorate Degree in Sociology in 2013 from the University of Cambridge. Some of her previous experience includes serving as a senior policy advisor for the Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce and Investment; A senior lecturer at the University College of the Cayman Islands as well as a tutor at the University of Cambridge and Director of Fundraising for the United World College Cayman Islands Foundation.  Katrina is Co-Founder of Sustainable Cayman and Committee Member of the Protect South Sound project. Katrina Jurn - YCLA Cayman
Michael Ashley Lockwood, 26, of George Town. A graduate of St. Ignatius, Michael holds a bachelor of Laws, with Honours, from the University of Liverpool (England), and has completed a Legal Practice Course, with Commendation, from UK-based BPP Law School. He is employed as an attorney with Maples and Calder. Throughout his youth, Michael was a lead Altar at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, mentoring and training other young men. He was a competitive swimmer for many years with the Cayman Islands Swim Team, and has served on the boards of the C.I. Swim Associations. He has also served for many years as one of the Head Pirates and organisers of Pirates Week. Michael Lockwood - YCLA Cayman
Kadi Merren-Pentney, 27, of George Town. A graduate of Triple C High School, Kadi went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida, with a BA degree in Business Administration. She also holds a Masters degree in Accounting and Taxation from Florida Gulf Coast University. Kadi is a Certified Public Accountant employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and has been the lead Advisor in the company's involvement with Junior Achievement. She is President of the Kiwanis Club, where she has been active for several years and is a Co-Advisor to Triple C's Key Club. Kadi is also the driving force behind the "Join In Recycling” initiative in Cayman. Kadi Merren - YCLA Cayman
Lydia Warren, 34, of George Town. Lydia received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours from York University in Ontario, Canada and holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of Miami. She is employed as an educator at John Gray High School, where she is a member of the Senior Management Team and is Learning Mentor for some 300 students. She is a graduate of Leadership Cayman, a volunteer for the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, and former Chair of the Primary Literacy Task Force, the team that drafted Cayman's National Literacy Policy. Lydia is a member of the Cayman Islands Baptist Church. Llydia Warren - YCLA Cayman

Assessing this year's participants, Roy McTaggart, Chairman of the YCLA Honorary Board, says, "It was a difficult task for the committee to select the five finalists from this year's stellar group of nominees. We are thankful to the community for embracing this programme and bringing these remarkable young people to our attention. In the coming weeks, we will be revealing more details about the finalists, and helping the community to better know these five outstanding young leaders, who all deserve to be recognised as bright lights of hope and inspiration to the youth of Cayman."

Community Support for the YCLF continues to gain momentum as the programme celebrates its 14th year, with loyal sponsors returning and new ones joining the programme. Foundation Director Jackie Hansen says, "The incredible support from our sponsors is proof that the Cayman community understands the importantce of positive role models for our youth. We are deeply grateful to this year's major sponsors IAMCO, PricewaterhouseCoopers, WestStar and the Dart Foundation; and to our loyal returning sponsors Progressive Distributors; Baraud International; KPMG; Celebrations and The Ritz Carlton. Huge thanks also go out to the new sponsors who have joined us for the first time, including Appleby (Cayman) Ltd.; Greenlight RE; Deloitte&Touche and The WaterColours Limited. We are very honoured to work with such caring and committed organisations as these."