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Ms Sharon Marie Martin, Cert Hon

Ms Marie Martin, Cert Hon

Sharon Marie Martin's recognition via the Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour comes appropriately at the end of a school term that crowns her 31 years of teaching.

"Love of children" is the simple yet encompassing reason that Ms Martin gives as the motivation behind her three decades in the profession. Her years as a teacher also reflect her deep love of learning.

Explaining her dedication she commented "I found my purpose in life, therefore the passion followed - which always makes a big difference in someone's career."

With a winning combination of exuberance, optimism and commitment, Ms Martin's face and voice have long been associated with the betterment of youth. While having no natural children, she is viewed as an endearing mother-figure by all young people who know her, and as a role model to the wider community.

A native Cayman Bracker, Ms Martin's career in education began in 1978 as a Spot Bay Primary School teacher, following her graduation from Erdiston Teachers' College in Barbados. In 1983 she transferred to George Town Primary School (GTPS) on Grand Cayman, and she has spent the past 14 years as its distinguished principal.

Even while active in the classroom, she pursued further qualifications resulting in her becoming a reading specialist teacher. Ms Martin later attended the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in England where in 1995, she gained a masters' degree in Education. Describing her daily routine over the years as "children, school and children," Ms Martin's hands-on approach benefits the district in many ways - from students' health and welfare, to family counselling and social assistance.

On any day of the week she may be found supporting and participating in children's activities - from transporting kids to sporting events to supporting them at extra-curricular performances and church attendance. And the results speak for themselves: Excelling in the National Children's Festival of the Arts, sporting events, spelling bees and essay competitions, GTPS students and their proud families have been increasingly prominent in recent years.

Even in the face of her school's challenges, including structural damage caused by Hurricane Ivan, and an at-capacity compound, Ms Martin has continued to lead, cheer and push her students from one success to another.

For this effort, she has been the recipient of several previous awards, such as the Chamber of Commerce's first Golden Apple; the 'Distinguished Woman' award from the Ministry Responsible for Gender Affairs; an award from the Department of Children and Family Services; and the Business & Professional Women's Club's Woman of the Year recognition, as well as awards from various sporting clubs.

Now, the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour takes pride of place-together with the appreciation and admiration garnered from the thousands of children and families whose lives she has touched.

For further information contact: Wosila Rochester