May 2018

Then and Now

August 1986

May 2018

For these guys anyway! Congratulations on another great year.

Last evening we had the great joy of attending the Golden Apple Awards to see our dear Ms. Nimmi Sekhar accept her Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Education. A gala, black tie event, it was held at the Ritz Carlton and Nimmi was supported by about forty or so family and friends from CIS. At the ceremony, Nimmi was honoured for her contributions to education over her thirty three years as a teacher, tutor, and administrator.

Nimmi began her teaching career in India, following her graduation with a Master’s degree in English Literature. Nimmi and her husband then moved to Jamaica, where Dr. Sekhar set up his practice. After a two year stint in academic support in Jamaica, she and her husband moved to Cayman Brac, where Nimmi began volunteering in a government school which led quickly to a full time teaching position in the Brac. When she and her husband moved to Grand Cayman, Nimmi supported the existing government schools by tutoring students with moderate to profound special educational needs.

In April of 1990, Nimmi teamed up with Dr Elizabeth Faulkner, a child psychologist working with special needs children and adults. Sensing a need that was not being met in the government school, Nimmi and Dr. Faulkner borrowed $60,000 to set up a school to meet the needs of these special kids. In 1994 Nimmi became the first Administrator of the newly founded Faulkner Academy. International School Services bought the school when Dr. Faulkner wished to retire, but Nimmi stayed on as an administrator of the renamed Cayman International School where she has served up until the present as our Vice-Principal and facilities manager.

Nimmi’s love of teaching and educating others is renowned here in Cayman and her commitment to excellence in education has impacted the lives of many students and the community as a whole, including Daniel Nicholson-Gardner, one of my many favourites. All who have been through CIS know her as an understanding, kind-hearted and selfless leader and friend and are constantly in awe of her determination and persistence.

It was wonderful to spend an evening with colleagues and friends all dressed in their finest for an evening that began with a reception prior to the awards ceremony. In fine Indian tradition, following the ceremony, Dr Sekhar hosted the entire group of Nimmi’s friends, family, and colleagues to a dinner in Camana Bay. We loved the opportunity to celebrate not only Nimmi but educators in general and we look forward to even more events next month to mark the end of an era at CIS.

Eli has been waiting for three years for this birthday! Finally she got to go to the American Girl store to pick out her very own American girl doll.

After much debate the lucky doll turned out to be Maryellen Larkin, a little girl born in 1954. Each doll comes with her own life verse. Maryellen’s is very much like Eli herself:

“I follow my heart instead of the crowd
I have a heart full of high-flying hopes and a head full of
pie-in-the-sky ideas, even though they don’t all get off the
ground. But I know that if I stay true to who I am and what
I believe, the sky’s the limit.”

She will be a welcome companion for Kit Kittredge who has been already been around for three years, when Abi turned seven.

Our oldest son Jon was always investigating ways to get involved in what was then the emerging tech field. He took the initiative to offers his expertise to the only computer retailer in St. Thomas to help their clients get their computers setup then did a thriving after-market business in installing software and trouble-shooting for the clients he helped. He investigated the nascent bulletin board systems (BBS) in our area and taught himself early forms of computer coding languages. At Conestoga College he landed a cooperative learning position with a local tech company that allowed him to explore connecting various machines through a digital interface and began to think through the digital diagnostics that would make that possible.

After a three year stint with a local IT startup and a two year interregnum as digital manager for a customs broker, Jon and his new wife Nicole moved to the States to pursue his career in a succession of IT positions. All through those years he continued to develop and refine his concept of a digital diagnostic machine interface, pitching successively more advanced iterations of the concept to various companies. However, while generating interest, there were never any takers. Until three years ago. Then the company for whom he had originally designed the concept came head-hunting with an offer to facilitate its development.

After two years with this new company, and after months of heading up a diverse team of software engineers that included a former NASA scientist, the new product, called Shelby, was launched with much fanfare and widespread approval. Recently that approval coalesced in the Engineering Choice Awards. The annual Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards “shines a light on 26 categories of control, instrumentation, and automation products.” A total of 88 finalists from 44 companies were chosen that were the most exceptional based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact. A total of 1 grand winner, 26 winners, and 29 honorable mentions were named for 2018.

I will let Jon himself describe the product for which he received his award: “The new FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices appliance provides health and diagnostic analytics from industrial devices. It crawls your industrial network, discovers your assets and provides analytics by transforming the data generated into preconfigured health and diagnostic dashboards. The system also delivers action cards to your smartphone or tablet if a device requires attention. As the application uncovers information about how the devices are related to each other, such as their network topology or fault causality, it starts to understand the system on which it is deployed to make prescriptive recommendations.”

It goes without saying that we are inordinately proud of our eldest son, who like all our three children is pursuing his dreams in his chosen field. This post recognizes Jon’s achievement, but we are just as proud of our children on the days they don’t get recognized by the world for what they do. All three of them are independent and articulate, caring and committed. Though our own careers place us many miles away from them, they are constantly on our hearts and in our prayers. It has been the greatest joy of our lives to be the parents of such fine human beings.

Referred to by the Incas as the “The Navel of the World,” Cusco, the Imperial city of the Incas was developed as a complex urban center and served as the capital of the vast Incan Empire. The historic religious and government buildings were surrounded by the exclusive homes for royal families, centers for favoured artisans, numerous and spacious plazas and graceful fountains.

The capital of the Incas astonished the Spanish invaders by the beauty of its buidings and the length and regularity of its streets. The great square, now the Plaza d’Armas, was surrounded by several palaces, since each Incan king built a new palace for himself. However, their admiration did not keep the Spanish from sacking much of the Inca city in 1535. Pizarro’s troops lost no time in plundering the Incan palaces of their contents, as well as destroying the religious artifacts. That turmoil is ancient history now, and Cusco became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, its remaining historic buildings now designated as having enduring architectural value.

On our return from Machu Picchu, we had a leisurely two days in Cusco just enjoying the sights, sounds and foods of Peru and even did a bit of shopping in the bright, colourful San Pedro market. We stayed at a little hotel on Calle Neuva Alta in the historic district, and were able to walk everywhere we wanted to with little trouble. The streets were lined with little shops with quaint cul-de-sacs leading to market squares lining both sides of the streets.

Declared by the constitution as the historical capital of Peru, Cusco has become a major tourist destination in its own right, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year. Coffee shops, many with balconies overlooking the squares or plazas were everywhere, and the vibe was pleasant and friendly with none of the frantic aggression that you sometimes encounter in the East. The air was cool and required a jacket, but that just seemed to make the city more cosy. It was the perfect place to finish our first trip to South America. We promised ourselves that this would not be the last.

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