Dart Minds Inspired programme is synonymous with STEM in the Cayman Islands and is grounded in the Dart family’s legacy of supporting education and a longstanding belief that STEM subjects are essential for success in and beyond the classroom.

In 2018 Dart broadened the scope of Minds Inspired to include teachers – the hardworking individuals who, although behind the scenes, are often responsible for a student’s love of, and success in, school. The Award for Excellence in Teaching STEM was introduced, with a goal of supporting and encouraging the growth of STEM in Cayman by rewarding excellence in teaching STEM, and providing school grants to purchase STEM related resources.

Seeing that the demand for STEM professionals is on the rise globally, Dart uses its Minds Inspired programme to create local activities and events that focus on STEM subjects, providing students more opportunities to explore STEM and learn about future career paths.

Nominations for the Excellence in Teaching STEM award are only accepted from other teachers, department heads or principals; and while parents may not nominate directly, they are encouraged to speak with their child’s school administrator if they would like an educator to be nominated. 

Once nominated, teachers must confirm their intent to participate, and will be assessed by a panel of judges who will then select two recipients (primary and high school) annually. Honourees will be announced in April 2020.

Awardees receive funding to cover a trip to a STEM conference inclusive of airfare and accommodations as well as a cash award of $1000. The awardees’ school also receives recognition and a cash grant of $3,000 to be used towards STEM educational resources within the classroom.

Last year’s winners were Von Ryan Abrantes of St. Ignatius Catholic School and Lune Vermeire, previously of Island Montessori. With the award, Abrantes attended a science and engineering programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and used his grant money on REV robotics kits and tools for his school’s classrooms. Vermeire attended the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) national conference on science education in Salt Lake City, Utah and Island Montessori spent their grant money on life and physical science equipment.

For more information or to fill out a nomination form, visit mindsinspired.ky.