Thomas Sevik Jr. of Layman E. Scott Senior High School and Diandra Whittaker of St. Ignatius High School are the 2017 Dart Minds Inspired high school scholars.
Thomas, a top performing student at the Layman E. Scott High School in Cayman Brac, has a natural affinity for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. He won the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central Science Fair in April 2017 and is well known at Minds Inspired events, having participated in the Minds Inspired Mathematics Challenge, Cayman Islands SeaPerch Competition and the recent Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture Camp. In his free time, Thomas enjoys exploring nature, is an avid diver and has a keen interest in the conservation of the environment, both locally and globally.
Diandra is a well-rounded student who has excelled within the classroom, in sports and through community service. Recognised numerous times as the Student of the Month at St. Ignatius Catholic School, Diandra has been named Student of the Year for the past three years. She is very active in her school’s extracurricular activities and plays multiple sports including football and touch rugby. Diandra was also elected Patrol Leader for her school’s Girl Guides group by her peers and manages programmes for her unit. She also serves on her school’s Builders, Science, and Key Clubs.
Thomas is not yet sure of the career or profession he is interested in pursuing, but he does know that he wants to graduate from university with a degree in one of the STEM disciplines. Diandra hopes to become a neurologist and wants to be the first Caymanian physician to focus on treating chronic brain-related illnesses in children and adolescents.
Each year, three finalists are recognised for their strong performance in the selection process. This year’s finalists were Natalia McCoy of John Gray High School; Bijou Forget of Cayman Prep & High School and Oisin McGeough of St. Ignatius Catholic School.
Minds Inspired high school scholars receive a four-year high school scholarship based on academic excellence with a focus in the areas of mathematics and science, participation in a multi-year mentoring programme with Dart employees and special enrichment experiences designed to introduce new horizons and expand recipients’ worldview outside of the classroom. The most recent enrichment experience took scholars to Oxford University in the United Kingdom where they attended a two-week residential academy that focused on preparing them for university studies.
“Every year, we are amazed by the student applicants and their high level of achievement both inside and outside of the classroom”, said Mark VanDevelde, Chief Executive Officer of Dart Enterprises. “It becomes more challenging each year for the scholarship selection committee to choose from the bright, diverse group of applicants. Diandra and Thomas are committed to their education and plan to use their knowledge to improve our community. We are confident that they will be excellent ambassadors for the Minds Inspired brand.”
The Minds Inspired High School Scholarship Programme involves a blind-selection process designed to remove distinguishing details such as school, age, gender etc. and keep the identity of the applicants confidential from the selection panel. Each year, a group of candidates is short listed from the total applications submitted. This year, 10 students were short-listed based on their applications and successfully advanced onto a second round: a mathematics and science test and a timed essay. Eight students progressed to the third round, which is an in-person interview with a Dart Executive. During the fourth and final round, a selection committee reviewed the total information on each of the five selected finalists (reviewing each application with no distinguishing details, only an application number) and selected the two scholarship recipients. The selection committee consists of eight professionals, five leaders in the local industry and community, plus three Dart senior executives.