Sir Ira Simmons Shines: Students Receive Scuba Diving Scholarship

Caribbean SEA is proud to announce the first winners of the Gary McNabb Scuba Diving Scholarship!  The scholarship was established in the memory of Gary McNabb, longtime supporter of Caribbean SEA and former owner of Leisure Time Dive Shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Mary Beth Sutton, Executive Director of Caribbean SEA, explained“When I founded Caribbean SEA in 2004, Leisure Time was among the very first businesses outside of the Caribbean to support us, since Gary understood how important it is to protect the ocean.  We couldn’t have grown to where we are today without his help and support!”

After his untimely passing, Caribbean SEA decided to honour him by continuing to help young people learn to appreciate and care for ocean habitats through learning to SCUBA dive.

The Caribbean SEA Young Professionals Boardheld a poster and essay competition to determine the first recipient of the dive scholarship.  The entrants designed a poster accompanied by an essay illustrating three reasons we should keep our waters clean.  Two entries stood out among the others.

It was so difficult to determine who should win the Scuba Diving scholarship that the selection committee decided to also award a second place prize of a snorkeling lesson.  Mr. Mackenzie Carasco was awarded first prize for his poster and essay due to his excellent portrayal of the need for clean water and his creativity in presenting it! His poster was also 3D and included a fish scuba diving since it couldn’t breathe in dirty water.  He will be headed to Dive Fair Helen to learn to SCUBA dive. Mr. Carasco commented that, “Life is too short, so I take advantage of every opportunity.”

Mr. Stepharn Valery was awarded snorkeling lessons at the same dive facility since his poster and essay also depicted the theme so well.  Mr. Valery is excited to learn to snorkel because he likes to “live life to the fullest!”  It so happened that the top two entries are both students of Sir Ira Simmons Secondary School.

The art teacher, Ms. Misha John, commented that “hard work pays off!”

She continued, “I am very happy these boys took advantage of the competition.  They both should express themselves more through art and put their creativity to work in everything they do!”

Neige Simpson, President of the Caribbean SEA Young Professionals Board presented the awards with Ms. Sutton. During her presentation of the award to the young clean water enthusiasts,Ms. Simpson remarked, “I am definitely excited to see how many talented and intelligent students participated in the competition.  It’s great to see young people express themselves artistically and based on such an important topic that is why we should keep our waters clean. Because the poster competition also included an essay component, we know that they’ve researched on the topic and hopefully learned valuable information that will keep them conscious of their environment.  We are looking to make this an annual competition, so keep an eye out for notices in early 2021!”

Ms. Sutton concluded, “Gary McNabb would be so happy to see his legacy carried on by two such deserving young men!”

About Caribbean Sea

Caribbean SEA is a 16 year old NGO dedicated to empowering young people and community members to protect and restore their waterways, from the ridge to the reef.  Annual activities include an overnight Rainforest to Reef camp held in conjunction with St Lucia Forestry Department, environmental clubs at numerous schools, and restoration projects on the island.  The local Director of Programmes on the island of St.Lucia is Nadia Cazaubon.